Coronavirus Chronicle in Moldova: Red Code

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The morbidity rates of COVID-19 in Moldova are steadily rising to the promised three thousand cases per day, exceeding the level set for the introduction of the red code everywhere. At the same time, coronavirus skepticism is growing in society, which can strongly affect the healthcare system in the coming months.
The global morbidity rates of COVID-19, which had been steadily improving for several weeks, have again shown a tendency to negative trends in recent days. This week, for the first time in several months, the number of new cases has not decreased, but increased. The most difficult situation is in the USA, India, Brazil and the UK. A total of 243.37 million people were infected, of which 4.95 million died. Experts still associate the deterioration of the situation with low vaccination coverage. Against this background, it is characteristic that WHO has returned to considering the application to approve Sputnik V. Europe has made a significant contribution to the deterioration of world statistics. Several European countries register anti-records for coronavirus incidence. Our neighbors – Russia, Romania, and Ukraine – are among them. Russia has been updating the maximum number of infections per day for several days in a row. The Ministry of Health has asked retired doctors to return to work, and the authorities are introducing non-working days from October 30 to November 7. Ukraine was ranked third in the world in terms of daily mortality from COVID-19. Besides, it entered the top five countries where the virus is spreading at the highest rate. Romania also breaks records for the number of cases. For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, almost 19 thousand cases of coronavirus infection were registered there per day. A new anti-record has been set for the mortality rates. Medical institutions cannot handle the number of patients. The situation is so difficult that Romania has asked external partners to help. Some patients were taken to Hungary for further treatment. Moldova also responded to the call, and sent a team consisting of 22 doctors and 10 nurses to Letcani. “Romania has always been there in times of trouble. At the outbreak of the pandemic, when we were all just learning to cope with it, they sent a team of doctors. And then dozens of trucks with protective equipment arrived, millions of euros in assistance were received... Romania is now in a critical situation. Their morbidity rate is twice as high as ours. And it is a great honor for us that we can respond to them in the same way”, Health Minister Ala Nemerenco comments on the situation. The situation in our country also continues to deteriorate. Apparently, we are returning to the March morbidity rates. Then there was a record daily increase of 2,273 cases. This Wednesday, the rate reached 2,068 cases. “Last week, 9902 new cases of infection were registered, an average of 1,402 new cases per day. Also, 217 deaths were registered last week – an increase of 27% compared to the rates that were a week earlier. We are approaching the anti-records that were in the previous wave in March, when we reached 11,500 cases in a week”, said State Secretary of the Ministry of Health Svetlana Nicolaescu. Moldova exceeded the indicators for the introduction of the red code throughout the country. “As you know, a red code is announced if the indicators of 250 new COVID-19 cases have been exceeded in the last 14 days. We have reached the figure of 265 cases per 100 thousand of the population,” the Secretary of State said. The incidence of COVID is also increasing among children. If last autumn children accounted for about 5% of cases, now it is 10-12%. In addition, symptoms are much more severe. According to the latest data, almost 550 school classes are under quarantine. It was decided to extend the autumn school holidays to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The rapid increase in morbidity is overloading the healthcare system. There are practically no available beds in hospitals. There are no beds for COVID-19 patients in the intensive care units of Chisinau and Balti, in other localities these departments are filled by more than 90%. “Currently, 3017 beds for COVID-19 patients have been activated in hospitals, including 335 in intensive care units. We are considering the possibility of involving thousands more beds across the country, but it will be very difficult both logistically and in terms of the medical personnel workload”, Svetlana Nicolaescu shares the plans of the Ministry of Health. At the same time, as the Minister of Health Ala Nemerenco put it, it is necessary to understand that “we cannot turn the whole country into a hospital”, since there are patients with other diseases. The situation is aggravated by the fact that the population is unwilling to be vaccinated. According to the Ministry of Health, the stagnation of the immunization process has been observed for three weeks. At the national level, two shots were made by 24% of the population. Only among those over 60 years old, more than 50% of residents have been vaccinated. Among young people, the vaccination rate remains very low, and in some villages the vaccination rate is below 2%. The authorities are considering the possibility of covering minors with the immunization process, as well as starting revaccination in December this year. And, if the first is justified by the increase in the proportion of children among the sick, then the second is rather a forced measure: Moldova does not have time to administer vaccines before their shelf life. So about 20 thousand of AstraZeneca doses have already been disposed. The seemingly over-pessimistic forecasts of three thousand patients a day are almost a fait accompli today. Morbidity rates have already been exceeded to allow a red code be introduced throughout the country. Unfortunately, the seriousness of the situation does not urge people to act accordingly – in particular, compliance with the mask regime and distance, vaccination. On the contrary, the country is somewhat skeptical with regard to coronavirus, which could strongly affect the healthcare system in the coming months. Seasonal diseases, cold weather and pressing difficulties with heating will also contribute to the increase in morbidity. At the same time, the authorities are obviously in no hurry to return to the lockdown, which can cause damage to the republic’s economy that has barely started to recover.