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‘Coronavirus disruption to continue for at least another year’, ECDC chief Dr. Andrea Ammon says

As more than 20 million people in France, and tens of millions more around Europe, face new restrictions to their daily lives to curb coronavirus transmission, FRANCE 24 speaks to the Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Dr. Andrea Ammon tells us that the containment measures being taken now – from curfews to localised lockdowns will not control the increase in covid-19 infections on their own – rather that they must be accompanied by effective testing and contact-tracing.

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She also rejects claims that the SARC-COV2 virus itself is less deadly than during the first infection peak in the spring: 

“There is no evidence of this. Through the expansion of testing, more young people are being tested, who were not included in the testing regimes of March and April. These age groups have a lower probability of severe disease, although they can also get severely sick and even die,” she says.

“And I think that led to a lower hospitalisation rate, which is now interpreted as the virus being less aggressive – but that is not the explanation.”

After US President Donald Trump claimed that he was “immune” to the coronavirus after recovering from the illness, Ammon tells us that the public should be wary of thinking that they are safe.

“It seems that most people develop antibodies that signal that the body has had the infection. A high percentage keep these antibodies for months, but the observation time is not yet long enough for us to make a final statement on this.”

And on the major question of when we will be able to move on from the pandemic, Ammon tells us that it could be around for as much as two more years:  “It’s a completely new virus for the world. In principle everybody is susceptible. We would not assume that as soon as a vaccine is available, that the measures can be dropped right away.”

“We are most likely in the position to be with this virus for at least a year, maybe one and a half, or two.”

Produced by Isabelle Romero, Mathilde Bénézet and Perrine Desplat

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