How to protect the elderly and patients with underlying medical conditions at the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak is a priority job, a renowned medical expert has said.
Zhang Boli, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering and an expert in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), made the remarks during an interview.
Although the novel coronavirus shows a trend of weakening pathogenicity, the Omicron variant still poses a great threat to the health of the elderly and patients with serious underlying medical conditions, explained Zhang.
As is shown by the current domestic situation, there has been a community spread of the Omicron strain, and besides, now is the peak season for winter influenza and common cold, he said. Zhang expects the outbreak to peak during the next one to two months.
He noted that the strain involved in the current outbreak in Beijing is Omicron subvariant BF.7, which has greater transmissibility and enhanced properties for immune system evasion, when compared with some of the other subvariants.
However, Zhang said there is no need to be fearful of an Omicron infection and that most infected people will recover completely within seven to 10 days.
He also said that the general public should be guided to use drugs rationally and should refrain from a frantic search for hospital treatment and avoid a drug overdose.
Regarding the possibility of getting re-infected, Zhang said the novel coronavirus is continuously mutating with strong properties of immune system evasion, and that the currently-spreading Omicron strain has multiple subtypes. So it is difficult for the human body to establish a complete immune barrier to all subtypes of the Omicron strain.
A small number of people may get re-infected, Zhang said, adding that more research is needed in this regard.
Still the possibility of a secondary infection varies from person to person, which is related to the infected person's immunity and the virus' strength.
In general, the symptoms of a second infection are not much different from those of the first one, Zhang said.
If one gets infected with the same coronavirus subvariant, the second infection will be less severe than the first one. Therefore, people need to maintain proper personal protective measures even after recovery from an infection, he added.