More people die at their homes from 3rd wave of Covid-19
YANGON - While it could be said that Myanmar made it relatively unscathed in the the first and second wave, circumstances and mutated coronavirus variants meant that the country is witnessing high rates of infection and severity of symptoms in the third.
The Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS) had reported that Alpha, Belta, Delta and Kappa variants have been found within Myanmar.
The situation unraveled the end of May 2021 and as cases infection continue to skyrocket, stay-at-home or lockdown orders were imposed in many townships across the nation.
There are widespread criticisms that there are much more deaths than those officially reported as patients struggle to get access to oxygen and medical treatments.
Volunteer and civil groups said most deaths occurred within the Yangon Region was due to the lack of oxygen supply, worsened by being unable to gain access to both private and public hospitals due to restrictions or financial reasons.
"It will be fine if there is sufficient oxygen but if it runs out and you cannot find more, the patient is dead. We are seeing the same thing everyday," said a volunteer worker.
The volunteers claimed that there could be as high as thousands of deaths at homes everyday within Yangon Region, so much so that volunteers have resorted to stacking up two to three corpses in ambulances or other vehicles and then sending them over to cemeteries.
Family and friends of the deceased can be been in cemeteries, ferrying the body in cars or even taxies.
"From what I've been told from those that are transporting dead bodies that can be as high as a thousand on the day. There is no precise number. For us, we will try to send patients in need of immediate medical attention to every hospital we can find. But it's all full up to capacities. Public hospitals are all full. In the end, the day passed by and we had to bring back the patients home. And the patients, in most cases, will not survive," said a volunteer.
As each individual volunteer, civil or charity groups and associations are overburdened, they have now set up networks to help each group out wherever they can.
The MOHS had been regularly publishing, between July 15 to July 21, daily Covid-19 case updates, categorizing from the highest to lowest Covid-19 cases found per township.
From those data, a total of 516 people within Yangon Region officially died of Covid-19 in Yangon Region during July 15 to July 21. These numbers have been severely criticized as under-reporting on the severity of the situation due to public hospitals only able to treat at their capacities while most suspected Covid-19 dealths, were taking place at homes.
From July 1 to July 23, there have been 3,125 listed new deaths from Covid-19 out of 5506 new cases with a positivity infection rate of the tests was a very high 40.82 percent. The numbers on July 25 were 4988 new cases and 355 new deaths.
The suffocating lack of oxygen
For most Covid-19 positive patients, most are over 40 years of age and/or are chronic patients suffering from a sharp drop in blood oxygen level while younger patients will tend to suffer only mild symptoms such as loss of smell, fever, and coughs.
"My aunt's oxygen level kept dropping even when she was on oxygen. Hospitals also said they won't accept if her oxygen level is dropping, " said a man from North Oakkalapa Township.
World Health Organisation had warned that around 15 percent of Covid-19 patients will see severe symptoms and may require oxygen supply while 5 percent of the patients may need to be put on ventilators.
As Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc, the panic and worry only grew, giving rise to a hugely inflated black market for the many types of oxygen as well as other related apparatus.
The MOHS has warned, referencing Dr.Janet Diaz from the WHO, that oxygen is dangerous in the hands of those untrained, and advised against home treatment.
However, the hospitals continue to be unable accommodate Covid-19 patients amongst other difficulties the people are facing to receive medical treatment for Covid-19.
The situation has forced the people to figure out their own solutions at home, in turn giving rise to more paranoia, jacking up black market prices and causing more deaths.