A local health expert has warned that the COVID-19 pandemic could last beyond 2023 if people continue to disregard measures meant to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive officer Solwayo Ngwenya made the remarks after the World Health Organisation (WHO) said acute COVID-19 deaths and hospitalisations could end in 2022.
Speaking to NewsDay on Tuesday, Ngwenya said gross complacency is promoting the mutation of the virus and this will ensure that COVID-19 with outlive other pandemics in the past. He said:
Pandemics don’t just end with a few deaths. Globally, pandemics kill a lot of people, millions, according to their historical backgrounds.
We haven’t seen anything yet if people continue with the lackadaisical approach of complying with the prevention measures.
This COVID-19 is being perpetuated by the global population gross complacency which is promoting virus mutation, and other changes.
As long as we are allowing the virus to spread like we are doing, the COVID-19 pandemic will outlive other pandemics in the past.
The Spanish flu, for instance, lasted for about three years, but COVID-19 may last longer if people remain complacent.
Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said the public should continue to adhere to COVID-19 control measures and also to get vaccinated. Said Rusike:
The big problem is that people are taking their focus from the main challenge which is the COVID-19 pandemic and are now instead, focusing on the Omicron variant, but the control measures remain the same, what may differ is that some strains are more virulent or cause more severe illnesses than others.
The general COVID-19 prevention measures should continue to be adhered to, including vaccination.