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In the sixth Covid wave, seriously ill patients are increasing

People wait to be tested for Covid-19 at a testing center in Songap district, south Seoul, on Monday, a national holiday in Korea. [YONHAP]

People wait to be tested for Covid-19 at a testing center in Songap district, south Seoul, on Monday, a national holiday in Korea. [YONHAP]

The number of seriously ill Covid 19 patients continued to rise on Monday.

The number of critically ill Covid-19 patients rose to 521 as of midnight Sunday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said, the highest since April 29’s 526 critical cases.

Compared to 65 a month ago, the number increased by 8.02 times.

Of these, 457 people or 87.7 percent are 60 years or older.

Critical Covid cases refer to individuals requiring oxygen therapy (e.g., high-flow oxygen therapy), mechanical ventilation (putting on a ventilator), extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), or continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT).

Critically ill coronavirus patients and deaths are on the rise one to two weeks after a spike in infections. Korea’s daily number of new infections has stayed above 100,000 for seven straight days, and the number of critically ill patients is likely to keep rising for a while.

The utilization of the intensive care beds for Covid 19 patients was 45 percent nationwide, an increase of 2.5 percentage points compared to the previous day.

Korea added 62,078 more Covid-19 cases on Monday, including 396 imported from overseas, according to the KDCA. That number was nearly half the previous day’s 119,603 cases, although the drop is mostly due to fewer tests over the extended weekend, which included Monday’s Liberation Day.

Still, Monday’s figure was 1.12 times the figure from a week ago, or 1.39 times the figure from two weeks ago.

The average number of daily new cases for the week of August 9 through Monday was 124,829.

Medical experts have warned that the extended Liberation Day holiday and the reopening of schools in late August are risk factors for virus transmission, and they predict a long line of infections will continue after the current wave peaks.

Another 50 people died overnight from the virus.

With the sixth wave, the prices of over-the-counter cold medicines known to ease Covid symptoms are also rising.

According to pharmaceutical industry sources on Monday, Kwangdong Pharmaceutical-made Ssanghwatang Herbal Health Drink, which is widely used as a traditional oriental medicine for colds, increased its supply price by 12 percent this month.

Prices of raw materials such as medicinal herbs have risen, said an official from Kwangdong Pharmaceutical. It was the first price increase in three years.

Panpyrin, Dong-A Pharma’s cold medicine, is also becoming more expensive.

The company plans to raise the shipping price of panpyrin by 12.5 percent in October. It is the first increase in more than five years.

BY SEO JI-EUN [[email protected]]

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