A study conducted on the path of the oomicron infection wave in the Chinese city of Shanghai showed that symptoms are mild in almost all cases. Risk factors are old age and underlying diseases.
Shanghai’s largest temporary hospital, converted from the National Convention and Exhibition Center, will be handed over on April 9, 2022 and can accommodate up to 50,000 beds. Photo: Xinhua.
The new study is the first to comprehensively describe the symptoms of Covid-19 patients who do not show an acute course of the disease. This group of people made up more than 95 percent of all non-severe Covid cases in Shanghai. It shows that a comprehensive and careful focus of medical resources on vulnerable populations can reduce the risk of overburdening the regional health system.
Since the omicron variant was identified in November 2021, this strain has become the leading cause of infection worldwide, with cases increasing dramatically in many countries. The high transmissibility of the variant has placed an enormous strain on healthcare resources, although the vast majority of cases are not severe.
A large cohort study led by China’s chief epidemiologist Zhang Wenhong, conducted by the National Infectious Diseases Medical Center at Huashan Hospital of Fudan University and the Shanghai Key Laboratory for Infectious Diseases and Biosafety Emergency Response during the omicron outbreak between April 22 and 28, 2019 describes the study, conducted in four hospitals In Shanghai on 11 March and 3 May 2022, the set of clinical features and risk factors for disease progression and dynamic viral load changes in initially uninfected Omicron patients. The study was published in China CDC Weekly on Saturday.
In Shanghai, 58,104 confirmed patients and 591,506 asymptomatic infections were reported as of Sunday. According to the principle of testing all in need, those who test positive are quarantined, hospitalized or treated, and all asymptomatic carriers, mild cases and moderate cases have been treated in a centralized manner.
All 33,816 participants in the study were diagnosed with a non-severe Covid-19 infection upon admission to hospital. They had no or only one underlying disease, but their health was stable. According to the study, coughing and sputum production were the most common symptoms in non-severe cases, followed by fatigue and fever. The median symptom persistence was seven days. The median viral shedding time was six days, with old age, comorbidities, and initial symptoms being associated with a longer VST, while full vaccination and booster vaccinations were associated with a shorter period of VST.
In the entire group, 22 patients developed serious or critical infections. All belong to a high-risk group of patients over 60 years of age with stable underlying diseases (including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, lung disease, liver disease, cerebrovascular disease or kidney disease) or immunodeficiency such as HIV infection .
The severity rates in all subjects and persons in the risk group were 0.065 percent and 0.238 percent, respectively. The severity rate of the non-risk group was zero.
The study shows that advanced age, lack of vaccinations, and multiple underlying diseases increase the risk of developing severe or severe disease, meaning that even among those with non-severe infections, there are still people exposed to the omicron variant.
Therefore, careful prevention and control measures should be implemented for vulnerable groups in order to reduce the mortality rate in these groups and reduce the harm from omicron to a lower level.
The study provides guidance for improving public health strategies for Covid-19 to reduce the risk of overburdening regional medical resources by carefully assessing the trajectories of severe O’Micron’s disease in diverse populations.
The study suggests that the rate of serious morbidity and mortality in high-risk populations can be reduced significantly and gradually if preventive measures are taken in a timely manner. These include full vaccinations, adequate protection for vulnerable groups, and immediate access to medical treatment immediately after infection.
When medical resources are fully and accurately focused on the at-risk population and the non-risk group receives adequate primary health care, the distribution of medical resources will be improved and the diagnosis and treatment of other diseases will not be lost due to the Covid-19 outbreak, according to the study.
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