Hong Kong sees almost double fatal and severe Covid-19 cases in a week

The number of fatal and severe Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong saw a significant increase last week, nearly double the amount of the previous week, according to health authorities. Despite the rise, experts emphasised that the death rate remains small when compared to the potential daily number of infections.

The news coincided with the death of a 13 year old girl who had been infected with the flu and was in critical condition. She was the second teenager in a month to succumb to the virus. The Centre for Health Protection reported 119 Covid cases that resulted in death or severe symptoms between April 23 and 29, in comparison with 63 cases during the week prior.

However, respiratory medicine expert, Leung Chi-chiu said the number of Covid deaths or severe cases was small given that 20,000 people could potentially be infected every day. Leung’s calculations were based on a University of Hong Kong study involving 10,000 people taking rapid antigen tests each week, he told South China Morning Post.

Last week, 2,400 coronavirus infections were detected through polymerase chain reaction tests, up from 1,615 from the previous week. Furthermore, there were 56 outbreaks in schools or residential care homes last week, affecting 306 people, compared to 28 outbreaks the week before.

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The Hong Kong government mentioned on its “Tamar Talk” Facebook page that 224 coronavirus-related deaths and 16,101 cases had been recorded since isolation orders were abandoned on January 30. These numbers exceeded the figures seen between the city’s first and fourth waves of the pandemic, which saw 213 coronavirus-related deaths and 12,631 Covid infections.

During the fifth wave of the pandemic, over 2.86 million coronavirus infections were reported, alongside 13,120 related deaths. The World Health Organization announced on Friday that the Covid pandemic was no longer a “public health emergency of international concern.”

Government pandemic adviser, Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, expressed satisfaction at reaching this important moment, but warned that residents must remain cautious, as another pandemic could potentially occur. Yuen urged for the protection of natural habitats and the banning of the sale of wild animals.

The Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin reported that the deceased 13 year old girl had developed sepsis after being infected with the influenza A virus. The girl, who had not received the seasonal influenza vaccine, had visited mainland China during the incubation period of the disease and was admitted to the hospital on May 3 after experiencing a fever and vomiting. In a similar case, a 17-year-old boy who had also not been vaccinated passed away in early April.

Leung emphasised the rarity of developing such complications from flu infections but urged individuals to get vaccinated as soon as possible. He noted that due to the pandemic, influenza transmission had remained low for three years, resulting in limited exposure to the virus for children and very low levels of immunity.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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