It looks like progress is being made in Thailand against COVID-19 any way you figure it.
As of Sunday, September 26, there are 122,463 patients receiving treatment. The average per day for the first 5 days of the month was 159,528, and the average per day for September 22-26 was 126,367. That means that there are 33,161 fewer patients being treated than at the beginning of the month.
New cases are down from 15,161 per day September 1-5 compared to 12,307 lately, a reduction of 2854 new cases per day.
Vaccination surely is having an effect. As of Sunday 50,101,055 vaccinations have been administered. The Prime Minister’s office reports that 44.45% of the population has had first shots, 23.9% have had two shots, and booster shots are beginning. School-age children will begin receiving vaccinations very soon (maybe this coming week).
Friday, September 24 was Prince Mahidol Day, a national holiday in Thailand. The Prince was the father of the late King Bumiphol, and the grandfather of the present King. Prince Mahidol is heralded as “The Father of Modern Medicine and Public Health.” To mark the holiday a mass COVID vaccination campaign was held with a goal of 1 million doses. That target was exceeded. 1.44 million doses were dispensed. That number included 947,290 first doses, 320,864 second doses, and around 172 thousand booster (3rd) doses – Pramote was one who got a 3rd jab on that day (picture attached).
Despite some stumbles along the way, the Prime Minister says it looks like the country will be able to achieve its target of having 50 million (70+%) of the population (or of “targeted groups”) fully vaccinated by the end of the year. The government has “procured” 125 million doses to accomplish that. That has naturally encouraged talk of re-opening the borders to tourists and retirees. Grand plans are being announced in these regards.
Meanwhile, the vaccination rate in 5 tourist-target provinces, including Chiang Mai, has not been sufficient to permit open-doors to tourists on October 1. The new opening date is now November. Since the beginning of this major outbreak announcements of plans for getting businesses back to work have been followed by decisions to postpone whatever was planned. In a few cases the plans went forward and results were unfortunate.
Aside from the government, reports on how things have been going have come from two types of sources. Both have built-in biases. Commercial sources paint rosy pictures of excellent business opportunities and reports of promised start-ups. Individual articles about things like a new up-scale restaurant inside the re-purposed hull of an airplane tend to hide the fact that there are still no customers. The other source tries to sustain the view that the country is teetering on the brink of political chaos caused by the government’s failure to respond in any way to the pandemic – no help of consequence has come for countless survivors whose financial providers have died, vaccine is being shunted toward the affluent, and so forth.
It is undeniable that there is hardly any cushion if something goes wrong between now and New Year’s Day. The economy must begin to take off. People need jobs. Children need to get back into classrooms. The Prime Minister needs to be right.
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.