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HMC Official: People Sicker During Covid Second Wave

by Tesneem Ayoub

The acting Chair of Hamad Medical Corporation’s Intensive Care Units, Dr Ahmed Mohammed, has said that the number of patients needing hospital care has significantly increased during the current wave of Covid-19. During his Monday night appearance on Qatar Television, Dr Mohammed said that the number of patients in ICU was 220 at the peak of the first wave of infections in May 2020. Today, that figure exceeds 300.

Why Has This Happened?

The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) says the current surge of infections is due to the spread of the B117 mutation of Sars-Cov-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19), also known as the “United Kingdom Variant”. Although people infected with this strain do not show different symptoms, they are more likely to have severe disease. Plus, this variant is considered to be more contagious than the original version of the virus.

What Can We Do?

Local health bodies recommend continuing with the following precautions:
• Maintaining good hand hygiene with thorough handwashing or by using hand sanitisers
• Wearing face masks when leaving the house
• Keeping a distance of at least 1.5 metres from others
• Avoiding crowded places

They also recommend for those who are eligible to get vaccinated. According to the MOPH, both of the Covid-19 vaccines available in Qatar—Pfizer and Moderna—have been shown to be effective in reducing complications caused by the B117 strain. And as of Tuesday, 30 March 2021, all citizens and residents age 40 and up can get vaccinated.

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