Expert: Covid-19 underreported, estimates 50,000 daily cases

PHOTO: Dr Nithiphat Chiarakun warns of an underreported Covid-19 surge. (via Nation)

While government figures report around 2,000 new cases of Covid-19 per day, a respiratory disease specialist says that the actual number is hugely underreported. In a Facebook post, Dr Nithiphat Chiarakun, head of the department of respiratory diseases and tuberculosis of Mahidol University’s Siriraj Faculty of Medicine estimated that there could be as many as 50,000 new Covid-19 infections every day in Thailand.

The associate professor says that the information he’s receiving put the daily new infection rate at about 25 times the official reported numbers from the Ministry of Public Health. He says that the situation is quite troublesome, and asks people to be vigilant in the safety measures against Covid-19 despite the fatigue of more than 2 years of what looked to be a waning pandemic.

“If we don’t join forces to slow down and control new infections, we may see people with severe conditions left in communities and the number of fatalities may rise. It’s about time now that the government must tell the truth and warn people to get ready to cope with a bad situation.”

The doctor fears the underreported spike in new cases could lead to shortages of medical personnel as well as hospital beds like we saw at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, and urged that the public must fight to prevent a rapid spread. As has often been the case, most of the people who have been admitted to the hospital with Covid-19 now also suffer from other illnesses are diseases, but the number of hospital admissions is rising.

The main hospitals in Bangkok and around Thailand are already quietly looking the more hospital beds in case the spike continues, and workers assigned to Covid-19 patients are doubling their efforts. The doctor said beds that had previously been reserved for Covid-19 patients for already occupied by people with other diseases.

Nithiphat points to the government’s push towards transitioning Covid-19 from a pandemic to an endemic status as the reason for what he claims are artificially low official infection numbers, and points to a reality far grimmer, with limited staff, bedding, and budget available for a potential underreported new wave of severely-infected Covid-19 patients.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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