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Hong Kong COVID-19 death rate becomes the highest in the world
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Breaking News: Hong Kong COVID-19 death rate is the highest in the world, more than five times that of the United States.
Hong Kong has wasted months during “zero case” period, and vaccination rates among the elderly remain low, ill-prepared for the inevitable large-scale outbreak.
Hong Kong’s priority was to vaccinate the elderly, but there have been concerns over vaccine safety, and the city’s previously low number of cases made many elderly people reluctant to get vaccinated at the time.
Nearly a year ago, Rio Ling decided to keep his 86-year-old father from vaccinating against the COVID-19 virus.
At that time, Hong Kong kept the number of cases at a low level under the “dynamic zero” anti-epidemic policy.
Compared with the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus, he I am more worried about the possible side effects of vaccination.
It wasn’t until January of this year that Ling wanted his father to be vaccinated, but it was too late, and the Omicron variant had already broken through Hong Kong’s defenses. Ling’s father was finally vaccinated at the end of February, but hours later, the elderly man with high blood pressure and dementia tested positive for Covid-19.
When the Omicron epidemic began to sweep Hong Kong, there were still 500,000 people over the age of 70 in Hong Kong who had not been vaccinated. Hong Kong, like elsewhere, prioritized vaccinating the elderly, but there have been concerns about vaccine safety due to local media reports of people dying after being vaccinated, and the city’s previously low number of cases meant that many elderly people were hesitant at the time. would like to be vaccinated.
“For a long time, the risk of getting vaccinated appeared to be higher than the risk of contracting Covid-19 in Hong Kong,” Ling said. “It’s not what it used to be, and everyone is scrambling to get vaccinated,” Ling said, adding that his father is recovering.
Hong Kong’s Covid-19 death rate has risen to the highest in the world due to low vaccination rates among its elderly population. On a rolling average of the past seven days, Hong Kong had 25.5 Covid-19 deaths per million population as of March 6, more than five times the U.S. rate, according to Oxford University publication Our World in Data. It ranks first on the global COVID-19 mortality statistics table.
In the current outbreak, more than 90 percent of those who died were not vaccinated, health officials said. The vast majority of them are over the age of 60.
Hong Kong has plunged into a crisis as the number of infections has risen rapidly. Hong Kong has tried to avoid the crisis with strict travel restrictions and quarantine measures.
Helplines in Hong Kong are currently unanswered, ambulances take hours to arrive, hospitals are overcrowded and morgues are nearly full. In such a situation, a woman had to bring feeding tubes to elderly relatives who were being treated for Covid-19 at a public hospital. Hong Kong’s crowded residential areas and nursing homes have become hardest hit by the virus, with about 60% of deaths coming from these places.
Many health experts say Hong Kong has exacerbated its own plight in part by wasting months of zero cases without adequately preparing for the inevitable large outbreak.
“We’re not doing enough to protect the most vulnerable citizens,” said Karen Grepin, associate professor at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health.
Public health experts have repeatedly warned the Hong Kong government that it is not enough to rely on strict border controls and close contact tracing to prevent outbreaks. They urged a “dynamic zero” policy exit plan, like Singapore’s, to slowly open up once the most vulnerable groups are protected by a vaccine to maintain low mortality rates.
As of mid-February, the vaccination rate for people over 70 in Singapore was over 90%, thanks to restrictions on unvaccinated people, mobile vaccination teams and even home vaccination arrangements. For the week ended March 6, Singapore’s Covid-19 death rate per million people was about one-third that of Hong Kong’s, according to Oxford University data. Singapore is also currently being hit by the Omicron outbreak.
Hong Kong’s Civil Service Bureau, which oversees the vaccination programme, said it had taken aggressive and strong measures to encourage older people to get vaccinated, including publicity campaigns and mobile stations.
The Omicron variant spread very violently in densely populated Hong Kong. Hong Kong has reported a total of 13,000 confirmed cases and 213 deaths in 2020 and 2021. The city of 7.4 million has seen more than half a million cases and 2,365 deaths since the outbreak began in late December. Local health officials acknowledged that the number of confirmed cases of more than 500,000 was vastly underestimated due to barriers to testing.
The surge in deaths is a wake-up call for mainland China as the Chinese government begins to explore ways to exit the dynamic zero policy. Although almost 90% of China’s population is fully vaccinated, only about half of its 35.8 million people over the age of 80 have been vaccinated, official figures show.
The biggest criticism public health experts have made of Hong Kong officials is that they are not doing more to push older people away from their wait-and-see stance.
Private companies in Hong Kong launched apartment raffles and raffle prizes last year to encourage vaccinations, but it wasn’t until the Omicron variant began to spread that the Hong Kong government introduced a mandatory vaccination plan.
Unvaccinated residents were barred from restaurants, supermarkets and shopping malls from Feb. 24, a measure that helped drive a small uptick in the number of people seeking vaccinations.
Wong Siu-fan, 80, said that prompted her to finally book a vaccination appointment; she had previously delayed it for fear of side effects.
On February 22, Wong, who was on crutches, said outside a vaccination center: Who would have thought that the epidemic would be so serious? She said: “I compromised because the new rules meant that daily life would be very troublesome without vaccinations, and I am now really afraid of contracting the COVID-19.
Many residents were slow to get vaccinated, in part because local media and government news reports initially highlighted the deaths of those who had been vaccinated, whether vaccinated by BioNTech SE (BNTX) and Pfizer Inc. (PFE) The jointly developed vaccine is also the CoronaVac vaccine developed by China Sinovac Biotech Ltd. (SVA).
In one instance, a newspaper reported that a man who drowned while swimming had been vaccinated two months earlier, and the two events were apparently unrelated, said Grepin, an associate professor at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health.
At one point, the government issued a press release in the weeks after Hong Kong first offered vaccinations pointing to deaths or medical problems, calling them “suspected serious adverse events following Covid-19 vaccination.”
Public fear of vaccinations has escalated and has persisted during the pandemic.
Hong Kong government officials also advised concerned residents to consult their doctors before getting vaccinated.
A “pre-vaccine” medical examination industry has emerged, which Grepin said she has not seen elsewhere. Annoyed health-care officials say privately that such checkups have led some elderly people to opt for elective surgeries, such as heart surgery, before they reconsider getting vaccinated for months.
With isolation centres and hospitals already overloaded, Hong Kong’s crowded nursing homes are bearing the brunt of the outbreak.
About 60,000 elderly people live in nursing homes in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, with a life expectancy of 82.9 years for men and 88 years for women in 2020. Some elderly people live in dormitory-like rooms and use public restrooms, while the number of caregivers is dwindling as more people contract the virus.
As of Tuesday, nearly 87 percent of Hong Kong’s 800 nursing homes had outbreaks of the Omicron outbreak. The outbreak is still spreading because there is not enough space to properly isolate the infected.
Officials said on Friday that seniors will be prioritized over the next two weeks to vaccinate and move those infected with Covid-19 to quarantine. Many nursing home operators say they cannot get help in time.
Hong Kong COVID-19 death rate becomes the highest in the world
(source:internet, reference only)