High transmission rates with a low death rate compared to previous waves of the pandemic, is what the models developed by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) project, according to the organization's director, Dr. Andrea Ammon.
She was speaking during a High-Level meeting on the future after the pandemic, which took place in Limassol on Friday.
Addressing the meeting on the possibility of forecasting the evolution of the coronavirus and monkeypox pandemic, Dr. Ammon said that it appears that the increase in transmission of Covid in most EU countries now mainly affects people over 65 years of age. As she said, cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the EU have been declining in recent months. However, the latest forecasts show an increasing trend in new cases.
The scenario for the coming autumn and winter shows high infection rates and a corresponding burden in vulnerable populations.
Nevertheless, it appears that overall death rates are expected to be much lower compared to the worst times of this pandemic, she said. She noted that the above will depend on social mixing, the impact of the holiday season and the risk of immune-evasive variants.
Ammon stressed the importance of vaccination, saying there was a risk of new variants of the virus and a waning of protection from vaccines and previous infections. She added that attention should be paid to addressing the immunity gaps and protecting those who are most at risk.
The ECDC director also referred to the need to tackle misinformation by promoting digital and health literacy and by providing trusted sources of information.
On monkeypox, Dr. Ammon said there were 20,083 cases in the 29 EU/EEA countries up to September 27th, with cases falling since the end of July. She noted that the key to the monkeypox outbreak is to break transmission chains, targeting those at greatest risk. She noted the importance of early detection, isolating cases and tracing their contacts, as well as the need for vaccination and promotion of awareness.