Infectious disease expert: coronavirus death toll might rise

At the moment in Romania, about 6-7 percent of those infected with coronavirus lose their lives due to complications related to the illness; nevertheless, this rate could increase if hospitals get overwhelmed with patients, said’s Dr. Virgil Musta, manager of the Victor Babeş Infectious Diseases Hospital in Temesvár/Timişoara.

Although the doctor’s figures are a bit high, as of July 22, the coronavirus death toll did hit 2,101 in Romania, with 27 people dying in the previous 24 hours. The number of newly diagnosed coronavirus cases reached a new record as well, with 1,030 infections reported within one day; a total of 40,163 people have now been diagnosed with coronavirus since the pandemic began in Romania, bringing the death rate to around 5 percent, and 24,663 are fully cured. According to the data published by the Strategic Group of Communications, as of Wednesday, 5,179 people were being treated in hospitals and 293 of them needed intensive care. Up until July 22, a total of 1,001,273 coronavirus tests had been performed in the country.

In terms of deaths per number of infections around the world, Romania is currently situated somewhere in the middle, as some countries have reported figures as low as 4 percent, while others have ratios as high as 8 percent, explained Dr. Musta, adding that this number could easily change if hospitals become overcrowded with coronavirus patients.

As he explained, there is a correlation between the number of infections, the number of critical forms of the disease and the deaths caused by COVID-19. “It is highly important to prevent the spread of the pandemic, as a lower infection rate automatically means fewer deaths,” emphasized Musta. Besides, the death rate can increase if hospitals get overwhelmed, as critically ill patients might not receive the medical assistance they need.

The doctor also mentioned that even though seven months have passed since the coronavirus outbreak in China, and experts have already conducted a number of studies to better understand this new virus, treatment has not substantially changed. “Indeed, we have more knowledge concerning the virus, but there have not been sensational discoveries concerning antiviral treatment,” said Musta.

When asked about the average age of the coronavirus patients in Timişoara, the doctor stated that this number has decreased to around 40 years plus, as the infection is spreading among the younger generations. “Most of the deceased are over 65 years old, but younger patients have succumbed to the disease as well, mostly because other health issues, such as diabetes or obesity, have aggravated the illness,” he added.

Title image: The manager of the Victor Babeş Infectious Diseases Hospital in Temesvár warns that the spread of the infection should be limited to prevent a growing number of deaths


Author: Éva Zay