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Everybody will get Omicron sooner or later, says lung expert

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Almost every person in Thailand will at some point contract the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and should learn how to live with the risk, a lung specialist said.

Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs shared his opinion on the Covid-19 situation two years after its arrival in a Facebook post on Monday.

He said Covid-19 was a new disease and it took a while to understand it. As a frontline doctor who treated several Covid-19 patients, he said the pandemic can be summarised into five points:

  • Covid-19 can be spread via airborne particles

In March 2020, a cluster of infections was sparked at the Lumpini Boxing Stadium even though people were more than 10 metres from the source. This is because the stadium was not well-ventilated and air-conditioned. This proved that wearing masks can curb the virus from spreading.

  • Widespread use of inactivated vaccines

Thailand began importing Sinovac in February 2021 and Manoon said he and his family members were among the first to receive this jab. However, in July 2021, he suggested that the government stop importing Sinovac because people who contracted Covid-19 after getting the jab had more severe symptoms compared to those who had received AstraZeneca.

People have realised that inactivated vaccines are not very effective, but provide some protection.

  • Learning to live with Covid-19

In October 2021, he wrote that the virus cannot be defeated and it will be impossible to reduce the number of patients to zero even with the strictest lockdown measures. Fully vaccinated people can still be infected with Covid-19 because it can mutate and skip the immunity gained from vaccination or previous infections.

  • Almost everybody will be infected by Omicron

In January 2022, Manoon said the Omicron variant can spread quicker than other variants, so everyone should receive vaccines to prevent the severity of symptoms and death.

He said that once vaccinated, people do not have to be afraid because they are likely to have mild or no symptoms when infected.

  • There is no proof Favipiravir can prevent death from Covid

In a post in March 2022, Manoon pointed out that though many Covid-19 patients were prescribed Favipiravir early, they still developed pneumonia. However, he said, deaths and severe symptoms can be effectively reduced with new medicines like Molnupiravir and Paxlovid.

Hence, he said, the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation should stop producing and importing Favipiravir because doctors will soon stop prescribing it.

Published : April 18, 2022

By : THE NATION