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Taiwan-Fourth Omicron Wave In Progress
So Taiwan is officially in its 4th Omicron Wave in a year. The 1st one began in May 2022 following the 1st booster program. COVID loves May in Taiwan for some reason. I think we are up to 3 Boosters now, but lost track.
Daily Reporting of Cases Ended in late March so this only captures the first 3 Waves
The 3rd Wave from December to March could be treated as 1 Wave or 2 shorter waves one right after another with the 2nd coming after the LNY holidays
This 4th Wave is from their weekly reports that only reports complicated cases and COVID deaths (in Chinese only)
They switched reporting periods so you can see a gap of a few days between the reporting period for the week ended 4-27 and 5-6. Deaths and Complicated Cases also have slightly different reporting periods so I just merged them. Clearly they are either trying to be opaque or are disorganized.
Complicated cases have been reported over the last year as Moderate and Severe. I believe all such cases are hospitalized. The rate of complicated cases to reported cases held steady at about 0.05% for the year, so no reason to believe that has changed.
So basically 200 complicated cases per day would translate to 40,000 cases per day if the old reporting system was still in place. Thats a bit more than the 3rd wave.
The puzzle is the low number of deaths, as you can see above deaths have pretty much dissociated from complicated cases although they are starting to trend up (there is usually about a 2 week lag between uptake in cases and deaths.
Apparent CFR has dropped by a factor of 2-3 by my estimate, so either they have better treatment or they have tightened the definition of what constitutes a COVID death. Both are good things.
A couple of interesting nuggets from todays paper
Local COVID-19 cases last week rose to an average of 204 daily hospitalizations, an increase of 32.5 percent from the previous week, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said.
The number of prescriptions for oral anti-viral drugs to treat COVID-19 also increased to 23,503 courses — 17,424 courses of Paxlovid and 6,079 courses of molnupiravir
Now thats interesting. 23,503 courses for COVID antivirals in a week? People are clearly self testing and rushing to Hospital to get a prescription. Before they would have to stay home and isolate, report and have someone get the prescription for them . This makes hospitals a Hot Zone if I understand the process right, not that I oppose ending home isolation. In any event it suggests my 40,000 cases a day estimate may be in the ball park
An analysis of hospitalized COVID-19 cases reported between March 20 and Wednesday last week showed that 4,876 of them were elderly people aged 65 or older, with an average age of 82.
Based on my calculations, which are imprecise due to data gaps and lack of significant figures in reported cases/day, I get 6,524 complicated cases in the period, so roughly 25% of complicated cases seem to be non-elderly. My apologies if I error, but they should provide better data. This is the 21st century after all, with plenty of homemade chips to provide quality data
The data showed that 37.8 percent of them were unvaccinated and 61 percent did not take oral anti-viral drugs, while 9.7 percent had died, he said.
The risk of death from serious COVID-19 complications in elderly people who did not get a booster shot is 1.81 times as high as in those who received one; and 2.11 times of those who did not take oral Paxlovid, compared with those who did.
They are ignoring healthy user bias. Those elderly not getting boosted are mostly because they are too ill to get boosted and many those not getting Paxlovid are either taking essential medicines which are contraindicated with Paxlovid or their COVID illness progressed too rapidly to get to a Doctor and have it prescribed in time.
Also they seem to be claiming a 9.7% CFR for complicated cases dx after March 20. Keep in mind newer cases deaths will come with time so this is likely understating the Complicated Case CFR. Calculations of their data show a decidedly strong downward trend although some of the latter is due to increasing cases as there is a lag for deaths. Likewise the early high numbers are due in part to declining cases
CFR%. CC/Day D/wk
2/24-3/23. 29.4%. 119. 245
3/24-3/30. 26.0%. 96. 175
3/31-4/6. 17.9%. 84. 105
4/7-4/13. 19.8%. 86. 119
4/14-4/20. 14.0%. 93. 91
4/21-4/27. 13.1%. 99. 91
4/23-4/29. 10.5%. 114. 84
4/30-5/6. 12.9%. 116. 105
5/7-5/13. 9.7%. 154. 105
5/14-5/20. 8.8%. 204. 126
D= COVID death
CC= Complicated Covid Case
CDC Deputy Director-General Tseng Shu-hui (曾淑慧) said starting from today, elderly people would be offered a gift of up to NT$500 if they get their first, second or booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Thats the solution for everything isn’t it.
Lets ignore the fact that since boosters have been delivered we have repeated COVID waves and excess deaths, although hopefully the excess deaths are normalizing
Anyways, most people are still masking although I put that number now at closer to 80% than the 95% after the mask rules were relaxed. Still need to wear in hospitals and pharmacies, but thats about it.