Guyana records 2.4% mortality rate from COVID-19
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Head of Medical Services and Cardiology at the Georgetown Public Hospital, Dr., Mahendra Carpen
Head of Medical Services and Cardiology at the Georgetown Public Hospital, Dr., Mahendra Carpen

EVEN with the country’s COVID-19 death toll continuing to grow daily, Head of Medical Services and Cardiology at the Georgetown Public Hospital, Dr., Mahendra Carpen, has disclosed that the country has recorded a 2.4 percent mortality rate from COVID-19 since the first confirmed case in March 2020.

Dr. Carpen, who made this disclosure during an interview with the News Room and aired on Saturday, indicated that this number coincides with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) estimation for normal, expected COVID-19 deaths per state. The WHO, according to Dr. Carpen, estimates that each country would have about three percent of deaths recorded from its total percentage of positive COVID-19 cases.

“Our mortality rate is pretty much the same as it is across the globe, despite differences in resources, despite differences in treatment protocol, despite all of the other differences. The WHO has recognised that across continents, the mortality rate for COVID-19 is between two to three percent, regardless of where you are, or how your gross national product or gross domestic product is,” Dr. Carpen stated.

As of September 26, Guyana’s COVID-19 death toll stood at 762; September has seen 137 people dying thus far — the highest number of deaths recorded in a single month since March 2020.

Contrary to misconceptions being circulated locally, the renowned cardiologist debunked the idea that persons who are admitted to medical facilities for COVID-19 do not “make it out alive.”

He clarified that while some persons who were admitted to hospitals died, a large number of persons have recovered and were able to restart their lives after testing positive for the virus.

“Every day, even though people, unfortunately, are dying, every day we are discharging patients who are better, having been treated at the hospital. Now, let me make it clear, there are no magic bullets, there is no cure-alls, but the basic measures that we have in place is what 95 to 98% of countries around the world have.

“A few places may have some tools that we don’t have, but generally, Guyana is on par with more than 95% of the countries in the world,” Dr. Carpen stated.

Persons with comorbidities at higher risk
The health official indicated that the Ministry of Health statistics have shown persons with underlying conditions account for a large percentage of the COVID-19 fatalities. The WHO in the earlier stages of the pandemic had indicated that persons with underlying conditions are at greater risk of being affected.

“This is not new data that has been established since in the early days of COVID-19, persons with heart disease, persons with diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, immunosuppression disease, lupus, all of those things, those persons are at higher risk for bad outcomes when they get COVID-19.

“There are your asthmatics as well as sickle cell disease patients. So those persons are at higher risk for really bad outcomes from COVID-19, and I’m talking about admission to hospital, admission to ICU, being put on a ventilator, and unfortunately, sometimes death,” Dr. Carpen explained.

He reminded persons who have been diagnosed with comorbidities to take the necessary precautions against the virus, including social distancing, wearing masks, sanitising, and even getting vaccinated.

The government has been rolling out an aggressive COVID-19 vaccination programme that sees anyone above the age of 12 having the opportunity to receive a vaccine to protect themselves against the virus. Currently, the government is offering first and second doses of the U.S.-made Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines; the Russian-produced Sputnik V vaccine; the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine; and the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

“I agree with the science, all the authorities that are empowered to evaluate the data and to make statements and issue guidelines are very clear that vaccines do protect you from becoming severely ill; from being admitted to ICU; from being put on a ventilator and from dying. We see that all across the world, and that is true for Guyana as well. We are not different. We are following the same pattern,” Dr. Carpen stated.

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