Very Ill COVID-19 Patients Surging in Japan

Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, July 22 (Jiji Press)--The number of severely ill COVID-19 patients has jumped 5.3-fold over a month in Japan amid the seventh wave of infections, caused by the spread of the highly contagious BA.5 omicron variant.

Hospital beds for coronavirus patients are increasingly occupied, prompting an expert to say that it is wrong to think omicron does not cause serious symptoms and that people should continue taking thorough measures to prevent infection as the summer holiday season is starting.

According to the health ministry, the number of very ill COVID-19 patients reported by local governments came to 36 as of June 22. The count rose to 68 two weeks later and to 191 on Thursday in line with a surge in newly confirmed infection cases. Many of the patients in severe condition are in their 50s or older, but there is at least one case involving a child under 10.

According to an estimate from the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, the BA.5 variant now accounts for almost 100 pct of all new COVID-19 cases in Japan.

BA.5 tends to grow more easily in human lungs than the previously dominant BA.2 variant, according to some experiments. But it has not been confirmed that people infected with BA.5 are at greater risk of developing serious symptoms than patients with BA.2

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press