Is Covid fizzling? Is the ‘tiger’ now a ‘wild cat’? This expert ...


Is Covid fizzling? Is the ‘tiger’ now a ‘wild cat’? This expert thinks so

Prof says it’s losing its virulence owing to mutations, although others say he’s being too optimistic

Phoebe Southworth

Coronavirus has downgraded from a “tiger to a wild cat” and could die out on its own without a vaccine, an infectious diseases specialist has claimed.

Prof Matteo Bassetti, head of the infectious diseases clinic at the Policlinico San Martino hospital in Italy, said Covid-19 has been losing its virulence in the past month and patients who would have previously died are now recovering. The expert in critical care said the plummeting number of cases could mean a vaccine is no longer needed since the virus might never return.

“The clinical impression I have is that the virus is changing in severity,” said Bassetti. “In March and early April the patterns were completely different. People were coming to the emergency department with a very difficult-to-manage illness and they needed oxygen and ventilation; some developed pneumonia. Now, in the past four weeks, the picture has completely changed. There could be a lower viral load in the respiratory tract, probably due to a genetic mutation in the virus which has not yet been demonstrated scientifically. Also we are now more aware of the disease and able to manage it. It was like an aggressive tiger in March and April but now it’s like a wild cat. Even patients aged 80 or 90 are now sitting up in bed and breathing without help. The same patients would have died in two or three days before...

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