Festival turns fatal: Covid surges post-Songkran
A sharp increase in Covid inpatients and related fatalities was reported in the week following the Songkran Festival, with numbers soaring by 150% compared to the previous week, according to the Department of Disease Control.
Between April 16 and 22, the number of Covid inpatients surged to 1,088, a stark increase from the 435 patients in the preceding week of April 9 to 15. Additionally, Covid related deaths rose from two to five during the same period.
In particular, reported cases of lung inflammation saw a dramatic increase of 143%, with 73 patients compared to 30 in the previous week. Furthermore, there was an 84% increase in the number of patients relying on ventilators, the figure rising from 19 to 35.
The significant spike in Covid figures is believed to be a direct result of the Songkran Festival, which is traditionally celebrated across Thailand. It involves various sporting competitions, concerts, and other forms of entertainment that bring together people from multiple regions. As these celebrations encourage singing and shouting over extended periods, the risk of Covid transmission is unfortunately heightened.
In light of this year’s Songkran Festival impact on the pandemic, this year has seen 6,571 Covid inpatients and 278 related fatalities.
Dr Atthapol Kaewsamrit, the deputy director-general of the Health Department, urged event organisers to continue to adhere to strict disease control measures, including social distancing and limitations on visitor numbers. Such precautions are particularly crucial in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.
Dr Kaewsamrit emphasises that events can still take place if they maintain compliance and follow necessary guidelines. He urges organisers to consider the health and safety of attendees, stating that the betterment of the situation regarding Covid not only depends on the measures put in place but also on the cooperation from individual organisers and attendees alike.
Furthermore, Dr Kaewsamrit encourages the public to be alert and responsible while participating in social events. He highlights that thorough hygiene practices, the use of face masks, and maintaining social distancing are essential in preventing further transmission of Covid.
The rapid rise of Covid cases and related fatalities following the Songkran Festival serves as a stark reminder of the virus’s ongoing threat. As the healthcare system faces the pressure of the increased number of cases, it is of utmost importance that both event organisers and members of the public remain vigilant and adhere to disease control measures.
Only through collaborative efforts and strict adherence to these measures can the spread of the virus be contained, ultimately ensuring a safer environment and reducing the strain on healthcare services. Although the festival is a time of joy and celebration, it is crucial to remember that necessary precautions must be taken to tackle the ongoing Covid pandemic.
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