Thai epidemiologist warns Delta variant could increase COVID deaths by hundreds in July

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Thai epidemiologist Kamnuan Ungchoosak has warned that the Delta variant of the coronavirus could push the death toll in July to 1,400, hundreds more than the 992 deaths in June, the Associated Press reported.

Kamnuan said 80% of the deaths are in the elderly or those with chronic illnesses, and if they had been vaccinated, it would reduce the death rate while reducing the demand for intensive care beds.

Outbreaks are also occurring among other groups, including construction workers and restaurateurs, who have yet to be vaccinated, he said.

“We have currently closed camps and businesses, but the number of cases is not decreasing and the economy is bad. But if we focus on the elderly and those with chronic illnesses, we may not not to shut down businesses and the demands of these two groups will also decrease, ”he said.

For more Associated Press reporting, see below.

This photo taken on June 29, 2021 shows health workers administering doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus to elderly residents at a sports stadium in Phuket, days before the launch of the Phuket Sandbox tourist program which allows visits to vaccinated people. 1.
Lillian Suwanrumpha / Getty Images

Thai health officials reported 6,087 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, setting a record for a second day in a row, as concerns mounted over the shortage of treatment facilities and vaccine supplies.

Authorities also reported 61 deaths on Friday, bringing the total to 2,141.

About 90 percent of the 270,921 coronavirus cases reported in Thailand and 95 percent of deaths were recorded in a wave that began in early April. There were 992 deaths in June, more than 15 times Thailand’s total for all of 2020.

The number of intensive care and ventilated patients has increased across the country in the past two weeks.

The government’s Center for Administering the COVID-19 Situation said 39% of the new cases reported on Friday were in Bangkok, 25% in neighboring provinces and 36% in the other 71 provinces. Center deputy spokesman Apisamai Srirangsan said authorities in Bangkok must urgently set up isolation stations to separate infected people in their local communities and add beds for treatment of severe cases.

Critics since the start of the year have accused Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s government of failing to secure adequate and timely vaccine supplies, and efforts to secure more have progressed slowly.

At a health ministry briefing on Friday, experts painted a grim picture of how to prioritize those vaccinated.

Prime Minister Prayuth has targeted mid-October to open the country to vaccinated visitors from abroad without quarantine.

Sopon Mekthon, chairman of the government subcommittee on COVID-19 vaccine management, said only 2 million out of about 16 million elderly and disabled people received vaccines.

Nakorn Premsri, director of the National Vaccine Institute, said a Thai company, Siam BioScience, was supposed to provide the country with 10 million doses per month of locally produced AstraZeneca vaccine, but this was reduced to 5 to 6 million of doses. The company, owned by the King of Thailand, has reportedly encountered production problems. It also has contracts to supply vaccines to other countries.

He said Thailand was trying to negotiate with other producers to fill the void. Thailand has so far only used vaccines from AstraZeneca and the Chinese Sinovac and Sinopharm, although the government says it has agreements to buy from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson as well.

Thailand expects hundreds more deaths from COVID-19
This photo taken on June 29, 2021 shows health workers administering doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus to elderly residents at a sports stadium in Phuket, days before the launch of the Phuket Sandbox tourist program which allows visits to vaccinated people. 1.
Lillian Suwanrumpha / Getty Images


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