Elderly Covid patients fill hospital beds in Chongqing China | India News

CHONGQING: Strapped to a breathing tube under a pile of blankets, an elderly man suffering from Covid-19 lay moaning on a stretcher in the emergency room of a hospital in central China on Thursday.
In Chongqing and across the country, the virus is on the rise. Authorities say it is impossible to track the number of cases after the abrupt abandonment of years of mass testing, lockdowns and travel restrictions.
A paramedic from the First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, who confirmed the elderly man was a Covid patient, said he picked up more than 10 people a day, 80-90% of whom were infected with the virus. coronavirus.
“Most of them are old people,” he said.
“A lot of hospital staff are also positive, but we have no choice but to keep working.”
The old man waited half an hour to be treated, while in a nearby treatment room, AFP saw six other people in bed, surrounded by doctors and harassed relatives.
They too were mostly elderly, and when asked if they were all Covid patients, one doctor replied: “Basically.”
Five were attached to respirators and had obvious difficulty breathing.
Millions of elderly people across China are still not fully vaccinated, raising fears the virus could kill the country’s most vulnerable citizens in large numbers.
But under new government guidelines, many of those deaths would not be blamed on Covid.
Previously, people who died from illness while infected with the virus were counted as a Covid death, but now only those who die directly from respiratory failure caused by the virus will be counted.
“Older people have other underlying conditions, only a very small number die directly from respiratory failure caused by Covid infection,” an official said this week.
Back at Chongqing Hospital, staff had their hands full, ferrying elderly patients to different floors of the hospital as families and other visitors hovered anxiously.
A visiting inpatient ward doctor confirmed the hospital had been very busy with Covid patients, but declined to give further details.
The AFP was not allowed access to the severe respiratory illness service.
“Covid is not a big problem”
Away from Covid neighborhoods, the streets of Chongqing were returning to a semblance of normality, with pedestrians and traffic beginning to clog some roads.
Residents said most of their acquaintances had been infected with Covid, although some people were still afraid to go outside.
“Over the past two days, it looks like they have started an orderly return to work. The roads are starting to get busy again,” said a taxi driver named Xiang.
“Since the reopening, business hasn’t been better. Before there were a lot of tourists, now people don’t come anymore because they’re scared.”
At a massage parlor above the twinkling neon lights of Jiefangbei’s central business district on Wednesday, a worker also lamented the dire business situation.
“Chongqing has suffered from drought, heat wave and epidemic disease this year – the only disaster we haven’t experienced yet is a flood!” said the masseur, who gave his last name as Zheng.
Zheng was infected earlier this month and had to scour three pharmacies to find fever medicine.
A Chongqing taxi driver nicknamed yang said many people had already been infected in the city – including himself, all his family and most of his friends.
“We had no choice but to treat ourselves at home,” he told AFP.
“A lot of hospitals weren’t seeing patients for any type of illness, let alone Covid.”
But Yang said he thought it was worth it.
“We should have reopened a long time ago,” he said.
“Covid isn’t a big deal. For most people, they get it and move on.”

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