Jilin reports China's second COVID-19 patient death in latest outbreak
Published: Jan 26, 2021 01:06 PM

Photo: VCG

Northeast China's Jilin Province reported one death caused by COVID-19 on Monday, the second coronavirus fatality after North China's Hebei Province reported its first in mid-January in the latest outbreak.

But an expert said the two deaths don't signify that the epidemic situation in the country is becoming serious. The death reported in Hebei came eight months after China last reported a COVID-19 death in May 17 last year.

The latest death in Tonghua, Jilin, was an 87-year-old patient with a variety of underlying diseases. 

CCTV reported on Tuesday that the patient had close contact with an asymptomatic carrier and was diagnosed as a COVID-19 critical patient after a positive nucleic acid test.

After joint consultation between national and provincial medical expert groups, the patient's condition improved after treatment, but due to underlying heart disease and virus infection, the patient developed rapid arrhythmia and reduced blood pressure, and suffered respiratory and cardiac arrest on Monday.

Yang Zhanqiu, a deputy director of the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that patients with underlying diseases, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and hypertension, are more likely to die after being infected with COVID-19. Even if they are not infected with COVID-19, their death rate is already high. Another COVID-19 infection could make their health condition worse, which will accelerate their death.

The recent two deaths in China don't signify that the epidemic situation is becoming serious, Yang noted.

There have been several hundred cases of COVID-19 confirmed in China recently with only two deaths, which shows that country's treatment level and ability to improve the survival rate of coronavirus patients are very high compared with many foreign countries, he said. Despite this, zero deaths are unlikely, Yang noted.

Wang Guangfa, a respiratory expert at Peking University First Hospital who was a member of the WHO-China joint expert team in February, said that the general mortality of novel coronavirus is not high, but for people with underlying diseases, especially the elderly, the mortality rate is significantly higher.

"The new death is an individual case, and there is no need to panic," he said.

According to the World Health Organization, the general mortality rate after infection with COVID-19 is about 0.6 percent.

Wang warned that there is a large elderly population in Tonghua. He called for stronger support of medical sources and daily necessities from the areas across China to help Tonghua overcome the difficulties.

The province has recently seen a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. On Monday, it recorded another seven confirmed cases, all of whom were initially asymptomatic carriers, along with 15 new asymptomatic patients and one death in the city of Tonghua. 

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