Covid deaths rising in Ho Chi Minh City

By Le Phuong   December 2, 2021 | 01:30 am PT
Covid deaths rising in Ho Chi Minh City
Doctors and patients at the Covid-19 Resuscitation Hospital in HCMC's Thu Duc City, September 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Ho Chi Minh City is witnessing a surge in Covid-19 deaths, with the number at 60-70 daily in the last week, almost triple that from a month earlier.

The rate is particularly high among people aged over 50 or underlying health conditions.

According to the Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control, on November 28 there were 62 deaths, including of 11 people brought from other localities.

Of them 93.5 percent had underlying conditions and 92 percent were aged over 50.

The deaths remain much lower than during the peak in August of 250 a day, but the number of people being hospitalized is also rising.

The Tan Binh field hospital has registered three to four deaths daily in the last few days as against no deaths a few weeks ago. Doctor Ho Huu Duc, its deputy director, said of the 5,000 cases daily in the hospital, the death rate was 7 percent and the average age of the deceased was 72, mostly people with underlying conditions.

Many of the patients are seniors reluctant to be vaccinated due to concerns over their underlying condition.

A chart from the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health showing the number of Covid-19 deaths in the city since August.

A chart from the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health showing the number of Covid-19 deaths in the city since August.

With its high vaccination rate, the city had seen a downward trend in the number of new infections.

On October 1 there had been 3,670 new patients while the seven-day average was 4,262. A month later the figures were down to 927 and 997.

But there has been a slight rise in numbers recently, with 1,497 cases on November 30 and a weekly rate of 1,619.

Dr Nguyen Thi Huynh Mai, office chief of the Ho Chi Minh Department of Health, said at a press conference last week that "The rising number of patients is inevitable as the city resumes activities, leading to a higher number of deaths."

Mai said the city is focusing on vaccination and plans to reach all households to find unvaccinated people and persuade them to take the shots.

Associate Professor Le Minh Khoi, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Medicine and Pharmacy University Hospital's Covid-19 treatment center, said many of the deaths were of unvaccinated people, older people and those with underlying issues.

Currently 50 percent of hospitalized people are unvaccinated, he said.

Many people underestimate the role of vaccines or fear them because they have underlying issues, but the latter group is the one with the greatest need for vaccination, he said.

He pointed out that there were rarely any deaths among young patients without underlying conditions.

Amid the increasing incidence and hospitalization, the department of health will continue its strategy of treating patients with mild symptoms at home and only admitting serious cases to hospitals.

Doctors have been recommending that people should get vaccinated, follow precautions and not be complacent. People who cannot be vaccinated and seniors with underlying issues including obesity are advised not to travel or go to crowded places, and to keep their underlying conditions under control.

As of November 29 the city had 14,580 Covid patients being treated in hospitals, 6,199 patients in quarantine camps, and 66,862 others under treatment at home. Of the severe cases, 3,000 are on non-invasive breathing support and 370 are on ventilators.

More than 6.6 million are fully immunized and another 1.3 million have received one shot.

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