TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A doctor in Kaohsiung said Tuesday (June 1) that the COVID-19 death rate in the country is still rising and may take a month to come down, UDN reported.
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) reported 15 deaths from COVID-19 on Monday, including nine men and six women between the ages of 60 and 99, all of whom had chronic conditions. Chang Ko (張科), a doctor at Kaohsiung Municipal Siaogang Hospital’s Department of Infectious Diseases, said people over 65 accounted for almost 40 percent of all confirmed cases in Taiwan, with most of the cases in that age group suffering from underlying conditions.
Currently, more than 1,000 severe cases are being cared for in hospitals, Chang said. He estimated that as the death rate is still climbing, the number of deaths will continue to rise until July, when it may fall.
Academia Sinica epidemiologist Ho Mei-shang (何美鄉) said Monday that based on an analysis of current data, people diagnosed with COVID-19 usually have mild symptoms in the first week; however, the condition of about 20 percent will later worsen, such as with severe acute respiratory syndrome. Without adequate medical care, they might continue to deteriorate, she said, adding that whether the country's medical capacity is sufficient will determine the death rate.
Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital doctor Chang Tsang-neng (張藏能) gave a more optimistic forecast, saying that as the number of confirmed cases in recent days has dropped, the curve is flattening. Therefore, the death rate should go down, per UDN.
Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC's medical response division, said that 1,055 patients currently have severe pneumonia and respiratory distress syndrome. He added that the percentage of severe cases is 14.9 percent regardless of age, jumping to 27.5 percent for patients over 60.
The CECC has continued to purchase drugs in an attempt to reduce the occurrence of severe illness, Lo said. Citing the example of Remdesivir, he said the center has ramped up purchases from 6,000 doses to 100,000.