Shanghai reports 139 severe and 20 critical COVID-19 patients; death tally reaches 25
Published: Apr 21, 2022 02:40 PM
An elderly woman receives nucleic acid test in March in Shanghai. Photo: VCG

An elderly woman receives nucleic acid test in March in Shanghai. Photo: VCG

On Thursday Shanghai reported eight more COVID-19 patient deaths, adding to a total number of 25 amid this around of Omicron outbreak since March, while it has registered 139 severe cases and 20 critical cases so far.

As of Wednesday, there have been 139 COVID-19 patients in severe conditions and 20 in critical conditions in Shanghai, Wu Qianyu, an official from the Shanghai health authority, said at Thursday's press briefing. 

Positive patients with underlying medical conditions, especially elderly people, are at high risk of severe illness, Wu said, noting that special monitoring and early warning should be strengthened, and early intervention should be conducted to prevent mild cases from turning into severe ones during treatment. 

The eight local fatalities involve patients with an average age of 77.5, who all had previously existing underlying medical conditions such as cancer, coronary heart disease and uremia, Wu said. Among the eight, six of them hadn't received COVID-19 vaccinations, and the direct causes of their deaths were the underlying medical conditions, according to Wu.

The city reported 2,634 local COVID-19 cases and 15,861 local asymptomatic infections on Thursday. Also, over 20,000 persons have been discharged from the hospitals or released from medical observation on Wednesday and returned to their home for further self-health monitoring.

During the briefing, Wu also stressed that the persons discharged had tested negative in two consecutive tests (at least 24 hours apart).  The communities were urged to ensure their safe return home. No extra barrier requirements should be added.

Experts warn that severe cases and deaths in Shanghai are likely to spike in the coming days, given the city's low vaccination rate among the elderly.

Lu Hongzhou, head of Shenzhen's anti-epidemic expert team and head of the Third People's Hospital of Shenzhen told the Global Times that the number of COVID-19 patients and deaths will continue to increase in the short term as the number of the infected COVID-19 patients in the city is relatively large.

Lu said the city needs to strengthen the treatment of severe and critically ill COVID-19 patients in order to effectively reduce the number of severe cases and the mortality rate. The expert also suggested that using anti-virus medicines early on could be an effective measure.

Among all the positive cases in the latest round of Omicron outbreak, seniors aged 60 and above accounted for 19 percent of the total cases. Among them, seniors aged 80 and above were 2 percent, according to the Shanghai local health authorities.

So far, 62 percent of the city's elderly population aged 60 and above has been vaccinated, 38 percent of them have taken a booster vaccination. This vaccination rate is relatively low compared to other cities and regions, according to the authorities.

Based on domestic and overseas studies, the vaccination effectiveness in preventing severe, critical diseases and death is obvious among elderly people who have received full process of vaccination or the booster dose. The effectiveness reaches more than 70 percent for those who have received full vaccination and about 90 percent for those who have taken the booster vaccination, Sun Xiaodong, deputy director of Shanghai CDC said at Wednesday's press briefing.