Bermuda Post

Thursday, Oct 01, 2020

'20% of Covid-19 patients develop severe symptoms'; obesity and smoking are a risk factor

'20% of Covid-19 patients develop severe symptoms'; obesity and smoking are a risk factor

Approximately 20% of Covid-19 disease patients develop severe symptoms. A statement made by the specialist in internal medicine and cardiologist Jorge Motta at the 'Café con La Prensa' entitled "The Other Face of Covid-19", in which the pulmonologist Bruno Hammerschlag also participated.
"80% of cases come from 20% of those infected [...] This clearly illustrates why we should avoid closed spaces with many people," said Motta.

"That is one of Covid's problems: I have no symptoms, but I am already developing the virus," added Dr. Hammerschlag.

In Panama, until the night of June 16, 21,962 infected people had been reported, of whom 457 have died. The Rt increased in a week from 1.44 to 1.58, and the case fatality rate is approximately 2.5%.

Motta pointed out that there is an increase in cases since last May 26. She did not specify the causes, but as of those dates, the Ministry of Health (Minsa) increased the number of tests. There is also the fact that block 1 of the economic revival plan was launched on May 13; Block 2 was reactivated on June 1.

Hammerschlag indicated that Covid-19 can be a "catastrophic" disease in anyone, but the risk has been classified into three types: high, medium, and low.

At high risk are people over 65 years of age or with chronic lung diseases, asthma, cerebrovascular, liver or kidney diseases, as well as smokers or obese. The population aged between 20 and 64 years, with none of the comorbidities, is at moderate risk, and those under 20 years of age, without comorbidities, are at low risk, although it was highlighted that young smokers (tobacco or electronic cigarette) have medium risk. "This is something that has not been given great relevance," he said.

“This is the most interesting group: the pelao who is 15 years old, but smokes electronic cigarettes. It is not at mild risk, but at moderate risk, "she added.

Hammerschlag recalled that when the person is infected and does not develop symptoms, they could become "contagious", as is the case of pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic.

Hammerschlag recalled that it is not known why there are infected that do not develop symptoms and emphasized that with this virus one is always in a learning stage.

He also emphasized that antibody screening tests, such as the so-called immunity passport, cannot be used.

Motta, who was director of the Gorgas Commemorative Institute for Health Studies and the National Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation (Senacyt), stated that in this pandemic, much attention should be paid to social aspects, such as poverty, hunger and ignorance, before implementing isolation or containment measures for the pandemic.

“In the absence of a vaccine until next year, the future is to reduce transmission through selective quarantine, diagnosing, and following up on contacts. Difficult days await us,” said Motta.

However, he recalled that we are dealing with a virus that leaves biological and economic consequences, so to cope with it, it will take “leadership” and “transparency” from the authorities, and support from the population.

Hammerschlag stressed that there are no coronavirus experts in the world, so you have to be humble enough to amend economic and health strategies if required.

The specialist highlighted the work carried out so far by doctors and the advisory team in the face of this pandemic and highlighted the "debt" that the Government has to invest in research and scientific training.
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