The number of severe COVID-19 cases and related deaths in Thailand is on the rise, reflecting the global situation as Thai health authorities expect a small wave of infections during this year’s colder season.
According to Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, Permanent Secretary of Public Health, the number of COVID hospitalizations in the week of November 13-19 reached nearly 4,000 cases for a daily average of 565 cases. This was higher than the figure from the previous week, during which about 3,200 patients were hospitalized.
69 fatalities were recorded in the same period, which was higher than the 49 reported for the previous week. 432 pneumonia cases were reported last week, along with 252 cases that required mechanical ventilation. These figures were also higher than the previous week, which recorded 329 pneumonia cases and 178 intubations.
Dr Opas said many countries around the world are now reporting higher cases, signaling the start of a new wave of infections.
Health authorities in Thailand had been expecting a small wave towards the end of the year as more people engage in group activities and events. Respiratory viruses also tend to spread faster during colder seasons when they can remain in the environment for longer periods.
The Ministry of Public Health is encouraging the general public to keep up with their COVID-19 vaccinations, as the majority of severe cases and deaths occur among the unvaccinated and those who did not get their boosters.
Concerning newer COVID variants, Dr Opas said more time is needed to determine if the strains are more transmissible or virulent. Newer variants tend to be more transmissible due to their ability to evade immune responses, though there is so far no evidence to suggest they can cause more serious symptoms. (NNT)