Most hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated

A COVID-19 department at the North Estonia Medical Center.
A COVID-19 department at the North Estonia Medical Center. Source: North Estonia Medical Center

The head of the University of Tartu Clinic's crisis committee Joel Starkopf told ETV's morning show "Terevisioon" that the central location for the coronavirus in Estonia is still South Estonia, where most of the hospitalized patients are unvaccinated.

"There are 60 patients at the University of Tartu Clinic because of the coronavirus, 120 total in southern Estonia. I think we can say the center of infections is in South Estonia," Starkopf said.

He added that most of the hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. "A fourth of them are vaccinated and their progression of illness is lighter. There is no other way of getting out of this situation than vaccinating as many people in society as we can," the crisis committee chief said.

Starkopf noted that there is no difference in the patients' ages when compared to spring. "The situation is the same as it was to start the year. The youngest patient at the moment is 19 years old and older patients are more than 80 years old. There are people with serious comorbidities, but also 50-60 year-olds at normal health who are not vaccinated and lived in hope that the illness would not break them. Life has shown otherwise, unfortunately," the doctor said.

He noted that the Delta variant is far more infectious than the initial Alpha strain, which is why a third of the patients do not know where they were infected. "For this reason, even the people who think they are isolated completely - get vaccinated."

The variant does not matter in the context of hospital treatment, however. The patients are treated the same as they were six months ago. Strakopf noted that this means there is no cure and patients are treated by lowering their fevers, hydrating them and giving them oxygen.

He said some patients will suffer from long-term effects, such as fatigue, shortness of breath and intolerance to exercise. "And this can last for months," the crisis committee chief said.

Starkopf noted that vaccination options are widely available and should be used. "It is a question of wisdom and education. Our children are the best in the world in PISA tests. Children, please teach your parents, as well."

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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