Doha: Qatar is still in the peak phase as far as COVID-19 cases are concerned and everyone must be careful during the blessed Eid Al-Fitr and avoid any gatherings and celebrate it home to ensure social distancing, Dr Abdullatif Al Khal, Co-Chair of the National Pandemic Preparedness Committee and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation said at a press conference today, May 20.
Key points from what Dr Abdullatif Al Khal said at the Ministry of Public Health press conference:
- We are still in a state of peak and the rate of infections between Qataris and residents increased due to the lack of commitment of many members of society to the preventive measures and gatherings for Iftaar.
- Most of the infected people are in the age group of 25 to 34 years and they constitute 35% of the total cases.
- The Covid-19 pandemic was on the rise in Qatar until it has stabilized in the last 3 days.
- Most of the people in the intensive care are between 45 and 54 years old.
- 74 people need ventilators, which is 43% of those in intensive care.
- We thank all those working in the health sector, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, administrators and all others.
- Throughout this month the number of new cases has gradually risen and we are entering the peak stage of COVID-19 in Qatar.
- It is encouraging that the number of patients making a full recovery from the virus is also increasing each day and this week the total number of recovered cases passed 6,000.
- The number of daily recoveries is increasing in part due to new international guidelines on the timeframe for when patients are no longer contagious, meaning they can be safely discharged sooner.
- While the majority of patients with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms, we are seeing an increase in the number of patients with more severe symptoms.
- Throughout the past week an average of 20 COVID-19 patients have been admitted to Intensive Care Units everyday as a result of serious complications.
- Eid is traditionally a time of year when we socialize and celebrate with family and friends, but this year must be different.
- It is really important that you stay at home and only go out when it is absolutely necessary and that you follow social and physical distancing measures.
- We are seeing many examples where the virus is spreading rapidly among members of the same family, including examples where they do not share a household, due to families visiting each other and socializing during Ramadan.
- We all have a role to play in successfully overcoming this pandemic - we ask the pubic to work with the healthcare sector and play their part.
- Ehteraz App has many advantages in helping to limit the spread of the virus in the State of Qatar.
- With regard to not having more than two people in the car, it is an important decision because anyone infected in the car will infect everyone else travelling in it.
At the press conference, Dr. Muna Al Maslamani, Medical Director, Communicable Disease Center said studies have shown that people who suffer from chronic diseases are more likely to suffer if they are infected with the virus. She added that plasma treatment is used at the Communicable Disease Center and so far 100 patients have received plasma from 96 recovering donors.
Key Points from what Dr. Muna Al Maslamani said at the press conference:
• Evidence from around the world shows that while anyone can become infected with COVID-19, people with chronic disease are more likely to develop severe symptoms if they get the virus.
• Data from our intensive care units at HMC shows that 49 percent of patients admitted to ICU with COVID-19 have one or more chronic health conditions.
• This is because chronic diseases can impair the immune system's ability to fight off infection and leave the body more susceptible to severe symptoms.
• The symptoms and their severity differ from case to case for COVID-19 patients and indeed many patients are asymptomatic - meaning they display no symptoms at all.
• 94 percent of cases in Qatar are mild or asymptomatic, 5 percent require hospitalization and 1 percent are admitted to Intensive Care Units.
• We have been using plasma treatment for patients admitted to the Communicable Disease Center, with plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19.
• To date, more than 100 patients have received plasma from around 96 recovered donors and the team is seeing the number of donations from recovered patients rise each week.
• The most critically ill COVID-19 patients are currently being treated at the Intensive Care Unit at Hazm Mebeireek General Hospital and severely ill COVID-19 patients often require mechanical ventilation. A small percentage - the most severely ill - will require extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) therapy.
• It is clear that COVID-19 affects people with chronic disease in a much more serious way than other people - and so it is extremely important for people with chronic disease to stay at home as much as possible and follow preventive measures to protect themselves from catching the virus.