Infectologist: Covid-19 situation is so bad, restrictions are needed for vaccinated and non-vaccinated people

The spread of Covid-19 in Latvia is so rapid that even a considerable increase of vaccination rates would not be enough to help. Instead it would be better to adopt new restrictions for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated people, at least initially, said P.Stradins Clinical University Hospital infectologist, University of Latvia Prof. Uga Dumpis.
«I had hoped Latvia would be able to avoid major Covid-19 problems, and we did for more than six months. However, we made very serious mistakes at the end. Many researchers believe the delta variant is the final push of this pandemic and once the delta variant has run its course, there will be no more problems of this scale,» said the expert.
Dumpis mentioned countries like Denmark, which has already lifted restrictions since their vaccination coverage is high enough. He explained that for the fight against the delta variant to be successful, Latvia needs to reach 80% vaccination coverage. Additionally, it needs to be even higher among risk groups.
«Unfortunately, we haven’t done very well with vaccination. We have little time to speed up vaccination rates. But even if all people rushed to get vaccinated and infection rates dropped to zero, we would still have an abnormal situation in hospitals, because infection results with hospitalization with a two to three week interval,» said the professor, adding that raising vaccination rates is not enough. Instead, he says, it is necessary to reduce interpersonal contacts between people.
According to Dumpis, experiences from all around the world show that in such situations it is necessary to reduce contacts between people. It would be best if contacts were reduced between non-vaccinated people. He said this is not entirely possible with Latvia, considering how well control is executed in the country.
This is why the infectologist sees no other way than imposing restrictions for vaccinated and non-vaccinated people, at least initially. Once the infection rates have been properly overcome, it may be possible to let vaccinated people return to normal life sooner.
The expert believes now is the time to consider movement or restrictions on gatherings, because allowing «green events» at the current infection rate would put people at risk.
As previously reported, 1 657 new Covid-19 infection cases were found and reports of 16 deaths were received in Latvia yesterday, according to data from the Disease Prevention and Monitoring Centre.
So far the biggest number of simultaneous infections found on a single day in Latvia was 31 December 2020, when 1 861 residents were tested positive. The two-week cumulative infection index has increased as well: from 627.9 to 680.5 cases per 100 000 residents.