From asymptomatic to severe: Delta variant wreaks havoc in mere hours

By Le Phuong   July 26, 2021 | 11:04 pm PT
From asymptomatic to severe: Delta variant wreaks havoc in mere hours
Medical workers at a hospital ward for severe Covid-19 cases in HCMC's Thu Duc City, July 19, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.
With the Delta coronavirus variant, asymptomatic cases could turn severe in a matter of hours, according to the health ministry.

"It means monitoring and taking care of asymptomatic patients plays a vital role," Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son said Monday.

There have been reports of Covid-19 cases turning severe so quickly they could not be wheeled to hospitals in time and died at home, with Son remarking it "truly hurts." People need to be more informed of the early signs of symptoms, and there needs to be people to make diagnoses and transfer patients to hospitals and other medical facilities, he added.

"Ho Chi Minh City has requested certain taxi services to aid with the task by going to locked down areas and homes where Covid-19 patients stay," he said.

For now, as all close contacts of coronavirus cases are self-isolated at home, local quarantine zones would have more room to receive new patients, Son said. The health ministry has also allowed mild Covid-19 cases to have their treatment time shortened and be discharged early, which also helps lighten the load, he added.

As the world learns more about the coronavirus and the disease it causes, there have also been changes to Vietnam's Covid-19 response. For example, it has updated its Covid-19 treatment plan for severe cases in accordance with new scientific research and prepared more early intervention methods like oxygen support at hospitals and other medical facilities, Son said.

"Some medications doctors used to treat Covid-19 in its later stages, like blood thinners and corticoids, are now being recommended for earlier uses," he said, adding other measures like antibiotics or ECMO are also being used earlier on.

Regarding the coronavirus situation in HCMC, Son said the outbreak in the southern city is still progressing in a complicated way. With ongoing lockdown and social distancing measures, infections will eventually subside, but how long such measures would last depends on people's compliance, local management and efforts from the healthcare system, he added.

"I hope the virus could be put under control in the next two weeks," Son said, adding the ministry is still sending reinforcements from all over the country to HCMC.

Official statistics from the HCMC Department of Health revealed that asymptomatic and mild Covid-19 cases account for around 80 percent of all infections. The southern metropolis has recorded 68,271 local cases in the fourth coronavirus wave since late April, the worst-hit locality in the entire country.

Vietnam's coronavirus tally in the new wave is now 105,287.

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