Covid-19 in Thailand now becoming endemic like swine flu, says Yong


Thailand’s top virologist says Covid-19’s outbreak pattern is now similar to that of swine flu in 2009, indicating that the disease is becoming endemic.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Dr Yong Poovorawan wrote that the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic of 2009 saw cases in Thailand peak from July to August before falling from September to December.

“There was another outbreak wave, but it was not as severe as the first one in the rainy season, which coincided with the first school semester. During the school break, the number of new cases declined,” Yong said.

“Another outbreak occurred in the second semester, around January, followed by a decline in December. The flu came back in the next rainy season,” said Yong, who heads the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University.

Covid-19 in Thailand now becoming endemic like swine flu, says Yong

He concluded that Covid-19 will now follow the same outbreak pattern as H1N1 influenza after 2009.

“The school break will start around the middle of this month. New cases will start declining until the year-end. A new outbreak will take place again in the cool season,” he forecast.

Thailand recorded 1,106 new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, with 17 deaths.

In 2009, H1N1 influenza was first reported in Mexico and the United States before sweeping the globe with unprecedented speed as a result of airline travel.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) raised its pandemic level to the highest Phase 6 in June of that year, indicating widespread community transmission on at least two continents. However, the pandemic was declared over by the WHO in August 2010.