Don't focus too much on daily fluctuations: HMC

May 08, 2020

The fluctuation seen over the past week in the number of new confirmed cases of Covid-19 each day is expected at this stage as "we enter the peak " of the Covid-19 pandemic, a senior health official has said.

"People should not focus too much on daily fluctuations in the numbers. Instead, we need to look at the general trend over a sustained period of time," said Dr Abdullatif al-Khal, chair of the National Strategic Group on Covid-19 and head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).

He made the observations while addressing a press conference on Thursday along with Dr Ahmed al-Mohamed, acting chairman, HMC's Intensive Care Units.

Dr al-Khal stressed that it is now more important than ever to follow preventive measures to ensure that the virus does not reach "our at-risk group".

The number of infections is expected to increase in the coming days before it stabilises and then begins to decline, he said. Most of the confirmed cases are among people aged 29-34 years, and infection among the elderly is limited.

"The number of people making a full recovery from Covid-19 continues to grow. This week, we passed the milestone of more than 2,000 recovered cases," he stressed.

The majority of patients with Covid-19 in Qatar continue to experience only mild illness or remain asymptomatic.

"Despite an increasing number of positive cases of Covid-19, we have the capacity to isolate and provide excellent medical care at all levels for these patients, and there is additional capacity if needed in the future," he said.

Dr al-Khal said 328 cases have been sent to intensive care units since the beginning of the outbreak in Qatar, of whom 208 have recovered.

He also noted that 53% of the patients in intensive care do not need ventilators. 

Starting some 59 days ago, the pandemic entered its peak stage in the past week and the numbers are expected to rise before they stabilise and then decline.

Dr al-Khal further noted that "we continue to see a low rate of Covid-19 mortality in Qatar compared to the rest of the world".

This is due to the following reasons: Qatar's young population; extensive testing and early identification of cases; high-quality care, including intensive care options; and protecting the most vulnerable groups from catching the infection.

He said most of those admitted to intensive care units suffer from chronic diseases and they have low immunity in addition to age-related ailments. Also, 1% of those infected are in intensive care units.