Danger of home treatment

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Danger of home treatment

 The tally of Koreans testing positive for Covid-19 has topped 2 million, with over 400 in critical condition and the death toll nearly doubling each week. Those under self-treatment at home are also likely to exceed 500,000 soon, raising the danger of more deaths due to negligence and delayed treatment. One man in his 50s was found dead on Feb. 19 at his home in Seoul after staying home upon testing positive two days earlier.

A 70-year-old in Incheon, Gyeonggi, fell to his death in a sauna in the city on Feb. 15 while under self-treatment. Authorities on Feb. 9 had eased quarantine measures and left quarantine up to individual judgement and action.

One salaryman in his 50s in Seoul said he had called the emergency line after finding it hard to breath while at home, but could not go to hospital because his name could not be found on the watch list of the public health centers. All these cases suggest the disease control authority has lost control over patient management. A seven-month infant diagnosed with Covid-19 had a convulsion at home and died on the ambulance due to a lack of hospital beds.

Newly infected cases have soared to more than 100,000 per day, overwhelming care capacity. But the government went on with extending business hours to 10 p.m. at cafes, restaurants and other mass-using facilities. The government and ruling Democratic Party (DP) have been accused of ignoring advice and warnings from the disease control authority and experts. A doctor who has backed government quarantine measures warned of the government sending a dangerous signal that the Omicron variant is a light disease.

On Monday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) warned that daily cases could hover between 140,000 to 270,000 over the next couple of weeks. The number of critically-ill patients and death toll can increase from neglected patients under home treatment. The government has kept up rigid control over Covid-19 through mandatory testing, tracking and treatment over the last two years. But after the number surged with the arrival of the Omicron variant, the government has come to give up on quarantine measures. People are on their own to avoid infection and falling seriously illness. Home treatment can hardly be described as treatment because most patients must endure without any prescription medicine.

The government has the duty to fight the virus till the end. It must ensure sufficient supply of fever and cough pills and make Covid-19 treatment and test kits available to anyone. It must regularly check on the bed status at day care centers and hospitals across the country.
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