Younger, healthier people with no co-morbidities are now dying from the COVID-19 virus in T&T and the Health Ministry is now testing them to determine if the more deadly Brazilian (P1) strain was responsible for their deaths.
The Ministry, through Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram, yesterday reported an additional 10 people with the P1 strain.
Parasram said that of 300 samples tested so far, there are 25 confirmed cases of that variant.
He was speaking at a news conference yesterday at the Diplomatic Centre, just before the Health Ministry announced that five more people had died from the virus.
“P1 is said to be 1.5 to 2.5 more transmissible than the previous strain, the Wuhan strain,” he said.
“We did see some deaths in younger people, one in the 30s, a couple in the 40s without co-morbidities in the past few days, which is a worrying trend,” he said.
“There is a concern about whether it can be attributed to the P1. Time will tell when we confirm those samples,” he said.
The P1 he said was “moving faster and hitting harder” which meant we had to “double-up” on the restrictions and try to stop the spread.
“We have to be very vigilant,” he said.
Parasram yesterday said that he noticed the “worrying trend” of climbing COVID
-19 positive numbers since March and now the country has just 10 days left before it runs out of beds for sick patients.
“I had said in the early part of March that we noticed a considerable increase. People at the time thought that it was too small, I thought that it was enough to cause a significant increase in terms of a snowball type of effect,” he said.
Parasram said that the health officials expected people to come together over the Easter weekend. He said the numbers would first double, then quadruple very fast.
“The effect is exactly like a snowball,” he said.
The CMO said that based on their contact tracing of infected patients, they found people pick up the virus at their workplace.
“We have seen a lot of workplace transmission being documented. A lot of people just say that they went to work and came back home, they forget the little bits. They forget that they stopped to have food, they forget they went to the gym,” he said.