Why Covid deaths are still high despite drop in cases – Daily Monitor

Ministry of Health virus response team pictured burying one of the victims of Covid-19 in Uganda recently. PHOTO/ FILE
The number of people dying from Covid-19 related complications has remained high even as the number of cases drop.
With 10 days to the end of the 42-day lockdown, deaths still remain in two digits, as high as when the lockdown was first announced.  President Museveni on June 18 put in place a nationwide lockdown to break the chain of transmission, relieve the health care system and curb deaths.
Between July 10 and July 18, 308 people succumbed to the disease, even as the number of daily cases dropped to 200. The positivity rate has also dropped to 8 per cent.
However, the number of recoveries has also gone up, with 8,073 patients recovering in the eight days.
Lt Col Dr Henry Kyobe, the national Covid-19 incident commander, said experts are working to further understand why the drop in cases has not resulted in a considerable drop in the number of deaths.
Dr Kyobe, however, says many people continue to succumb to the disease due to seeking care late, when the virus has already damaged vital body organs.
“Certainly the drop in the number of daily cases and the drop in number of deaths is not linearly correlated. We think for a couple of reasons but we are looking into the data. Most patients come in quite late, they come in when they are really sick,” he said.
  “Primarily that is what we are seeing but we are doing a deep analysis to actually see why this is happening.,” Dr Kyobe added.
He said even the low cases being registered could contribute to persons with severe disease, who are more prone to death. “The point is the earlier a patient comes for care, the better. But if a patient comes in late it becomes very difficult when we have extensive lung damage and subsequent organ damage, the reversal is usually not easy,” he said.
Dr Charles Olaro, the director for curative services at the Ministry of Health, said the deaths could be those who were already affected before the lockdown measures started to yield results. He also explained that even with few cases being recorded, a considerable number could suffer severe disease due to the aggressiveness of the Delta variant.
“The drop in deaths may not necessarily follow the drop in cases. You already have people in the system and their average days of stay is 21 to one month. Whereas you get those who are improving, the ones who were severe and critical have not been discharged. This is an accumulation; you already have people who were already there and it is not the ones who are being admitted now, we do not report deaths,” he said.
Dr Olaro, however, warned that even with cases dropping, the only way to avoid severe disease is through vaccination.
“The bottom line is to vaccinate so that even when people have fallen sick you do not get very severe cases,” he said.
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