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General News of Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Source: GNA

Sliding scale in behaviour of the coronavirus - Dr Badu Sarkodie


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Dr Badu Sarkodie, the Director of Public Health, Ghana Health Service (GHS), on Tuesday said there is a sliding scale in the behaviour of the COVID-19 record of the country.

He said records showed that children below ten years who got infected were able to clear the virus more rapidly, and that those between ages ten to 40 recovered much earlier.

Dr Sarkodie, who was speaking at the Minister's COVID-19 update press briefing in Accra, said although the country continued to record some new cases of COVID-19, the infection, hospitalisation, as well as death rate had slowed down compared to the previous recordings.

The press briefing would provide the clarity needed on the dynamics of the virus to inform both the Government and stakeholders in their consultations towards the easing of the COVID-19 restrictions.

He presented a chat, which showed that unlike records of other countries, the commonest symptoms of patients in Ghana were coughs, which formed close to 30 per cent of the cases recorded, with a fever rate of about 10 per cent.

He said the infection had varied presentations starting in some cases from a mild mode to severe, resembling any acute respiratory infection, but most people in Ghana had within two weeks completed the viral shedding and had fully recovered.

In extreme cases where hospitalisation was required, patients had recovered by the eighth week with children and pregnant women accounting for a small proportion with mild symptoms.

On the mode of infection, Dr Sarkodie explained that the SARS-2 germ (COVID-19), was similar to those that caused other respiratory illnesses, which attacked the protein cell and penetrated the human body cells in an attempt to replicate itself.

However, to build immunity to the novel Coronavirus, the body develops several counter cells, which rather leads to massive damages to cells of delicate body organs like the lungs, kidneys and heart.

That, he said, often accounted for the critical symptoms of persistent cough, sneezing, high temperature, and difficulty in breathing in some patients, particularly the aged and those with critical diseases of these organs, leading to their functional failure.

He said although all persons were susceptible to the novel Coronavirus, those with high Blood Pressure (BP or hypertension), diabetes and heart problems, were at a higher risk of becoming critically ill and even dying, because it was the same protein cells that helped regulate their BP.

"This explains the term comorbidity as has been often used to describe deaths associated with COVID-19," he said.

Dr Sarkodie said in Ghana only about nine per cent of people who were infected with COVID-19 had developed symptoms but 91 per cent had been asymptomatic (without symptoms).

He, however, stated that some of the risk factors of contracting the virus depended on how often one touched his or her eyes, nose or mouth with contaminated hands.

He advised that the frequent cleansing of objects such as doorknobs and surfaces of tables while avoiding the sharing of items such as pens could greatly reduce the rate of infection.

“This is why all must strictly adhere to the WHO safety and hygiene protocols, which includes physical distancing, regular handwashing with soap underwater for at least 20 seconds, or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers and the wearing of nose masks are critical,” Dr Sarkodie said.

Meanwhile, Ghana's cumulative COVID-19 case count now stands at 6,964 as at May 26, 2020, with 2,097 recoveries and 32 deaths.

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