Thai medics warn of Covid-19 surge after 11 new deaths recorded

Picture courtesy of Xinhua

The Thai Medical authorities sounded the alarm bells for an impending Covid-19 pandemic outbreak in Thailand after reporting 11 new deaths and 1,880 hospitalisations over the past seven days.

Data released by the Department for Disease Control at Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health indicate that Covid hospitalisations are now averaging around 269 cases per day, with a significant portion requiring intensive care unit (ICU) and mechanical ventilation support.

Thai doctors and hospitals are growing increasingly concerned as patients hospitalised with Covid are taking longer to recover, leading to a shortage of designated beds in both private and public hospitals. This surge in caseloads is also placing significant stress on healthcare staff.

Over the past weeks, Covid hospitalisations have remained consistently high, with 1,792 admissions in the previous week and 1,672 the week before. It is estimated that between 15% to 24% of these hospital admissions require ICU or supplemental oxygen, with patients often taking anywhere from three to eight weeks to recover.

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With Covid testing currently limited and mainly conducted in cases of severe disease, doctors are concerned about extensive spread among the local population. This could lead to a rise in long Covid and other long-term medical issues.

Already, there has been an increase in new-onset diabetes, hypertension, chronic fatigue, kidney and liver issues, as well as neuropsychiatric issues over the past three years, with many studies linking even mild Covid infections to these conditions.

Furthermore, the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 FLiRT variants in Thailand, characterised by mutations F456L and R346T, is compounding concerns. These variants are gaining attention due to their potential impact on disease transmission and severity. The recent debut of the KP.3 sub-lineage, in particular, is raising alarms due to its high transmissibility rate.

Symptoms of FLiRT variants resemble those of earlier Covid strains, including respiratory issues, fatigue, fever, cough, and sore throat. However, reports indicate variations in symptoms and disease severity, with some patients exhibiting rashes, intensified muscular pains, and lung lesions.

In addition to the physical toll, the healthcare system is bracing for the psychological impact of the pandemic. Healthcare workers are experiencing burnout and fatigue due to the relentless demands of caring for Covid patients amidst staff shortages and limited resources.

Efforts to contain the spread of the virus continue, with authorities urging the public to adhere to strict preventive measures such as mask-wearing, social distancing, and hand hygiene. Vaccination campaigns are ongoing but challenges such as vaccine hesitancy and supply chain issues persist.

The coming weeks are critical as Thailand braces for a potential surge in Covid cases driven by the emergence of new variants and the ongoing challenges facing the healthcare system, reported Thailand Medical News.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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