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The fifth wave


Some experts now talk about the fifth wave of COVID-19. 

In Sweden we are used to waves of influenzas. They go away, and a mutated variant comes back in the next seasonal outburst. We use the same medicines but must change vaccines. 

Now there is a new narrative. The WHO reports that the share of Delta variant samples in nearly 800,000 SARS-CoV-2 sequences collected globally from mid-September to mid-November 2021 was 99.7 %, “reflecting that the highly transmissible variant has all but taken over”.

The use of the expression “taken over” pictures the development as a “battle of the viruses”. 

Another possible interpretation is that what is called “variants” are just different epidemics and that the first has run its course as all epidemics do and there is a second epidemic around – the Delta-epidemic. After all a mutated virus could be seen and treated as a different virus, not the same.  Here is a graph from the death rate for people “with” COVID-19 in Sweden. Clearly only two “waves” this far – one in 2020 and one in 2021.

US braces for ‘fifth wave’ of COVID

“Health-care leaders in the United States warn that Thanksgiving-holiday travel and social mixing might have dangerous consequences in a country made vulnerable by low vaccination rates in some areas, the politicization of public-health measures and rising complacency about the disease. “We are preparing for the absolute worst,” said Andrew Jameson, an infectious-disease physician at a hospital in Michigan, where daily case numbers have almost doubled since the start of November. “We are exhausted. It’s hard.””  The Financial Times, November 24, 2021

There have never been more than two waves (phases) of viral influenza earlier in history.

What are the causes of death in the pandemic?

Less than 10 % of the deaths in COVID-19 are caused by the virus infection. The other more than 90 % of the deaths are caused by other serious illnesses such as heart failure, cancer etc.