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Is COVID seasonal like flu? Chief medical officer's response

Is COVID seasonal like flu? Chief medical officer's response Photo: Chief State Sanitary Doctor of Ukraine Ihor Kuzin (Vitalii Nosach, RBC-Ukraine)

The coronavirus in Ukraine has acquired a seasonal character, similar to the flu. Epidemiologists typically record two waves of COVID-19 incidence in the country per year, informs Dr. Ihor Kuzin, a physician-epidemiologist, public health specialist, and Chief State Sanitary Doctor of Ukraine, in an interview with RBC-Ukraine.

"We have to acknowledge that this has become an absolutely routine illness. As representatives of the World Health Organization express it, it has become a constant threat and a constant problem for the healthcare system. Yes, COVID now exhibits signs of seasonality, like the flu," he explained.

As the chief sanitary doctor pointed out, the coronavirus now clearly falls into the main seasonal peaks: there are more cases in autumn, from September and October to November-December.

"The incidence continues in January, February, March, and partially in April. This is also the time when flu cases increase. Starting from May, we will observe a second minor wave. It's always smaller than the first. Currently, we see that COVID accounts for an average of 1% of the total number of all acute respiratory viral infections in terms of incidence as of the first week of March," Kuzin added.

Coronavirus in Ukraine

Earlier, the Minister of Health of Ukraine, Viktor Liashko, during a telethon, mentioned that by the end of January 2024, Ukraine had recorded 17 strains of the coronavirus, including a new strain called Jenny.

At the end of December 2023, the incidence rate of COVID-19 increased by 52% compared to the previous 28-day period. After this, the WHO called for the continued observance of mask-wearing and social distancing to prevent COVID-19 infection. In particular, the Kyiv City State Administration recommended that Kyiv residents return to wearing masks.