Siriraj doctor warns of Covid crisis, says government underreporting new cases

MONDAY, JULY 04, 2022

A respiratory disease expert at Siriraj Hospital said on Monday that the government was greatly underreporting the number of new Covid infections, saying daily new cases were estimated at about 50,000.

Assoc Prof Dr Nithiphat Chiarakun, head of the department of respiratory diseases and tuberculosis of Mahidol University’s Siriraj Faculty of Medicine, posted on his Facebook wall that the Covid-19 situation now was very worrying.

He said he had received information that the real number of new infections late last week had reached about 50,000 a day, not about 2,000 a day as reported by the Public Health Ministry.

He urged the public and all sides to cooperate to prevent new infections so that the spread could be slowed down. He said it was necessary to avoid a situation of inadequate hospital beds and medical manpower as had happened in the past.

Nithiphat noted that the number of people admitted to hospitals, who tested positive for Covid, was rising. But he said that most of them were ill with other diseases and their condition had been complicated by the Covid infection.

The number of patients with Covid had led to medical personnel assigned to treat Covid patients having to work two times harder.

The doctor added that most major hospitals in Bangkok and in the provinces had to start looking for hospital beds in anticipation of many more Covid patients.

“The situation contradicts the number provided by the government that many more hospital beds are available. Such numbers are only a framework for expansion but the real bed numbers are dwindling,” the doctor wrote.

He added that prepared number of beds have almost been used up to care for patients having other diseases.

He said the figures reported by the government were low because officials did not fully report the infection numbers every day, especially during the transitional period for downgrading Covid to endemic status.

Nithiphat added that the country was now in bad shape due to limited budget and medical personnel to take care of new Covid patients with severe conditions.

“If we don’t join forces to slow down and control new infections, we may see people with severe conditions left in communities and the number of fatalities may rise,” the doctor warned.

“It’s about time now that the government must tell the truth and warn people to get ready to cope with a bad situation.”