CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan's COVID-19 patients mainly experience mild symptoms: CECC

03/26/2020 09:25 PM
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Chang Shan-chwen (Photo courtesy of the Central Epidemic Command Center)
Chang Shan-chwen (Photo courtesy of the Central Epidemic Command Center)

Taipei, March 26 (CNA) A majority of coronavirus COVID-19 patients in Taiwan suffer from mild symptoms, but have to be hospitalized for a long period for detox treatment, an expert with the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Thursday.

Presenting an analysis of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, CECC advisory specialist panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said symptoms were mild or moderate in about 70 percent of the 235 patients across the country.

In the cases examined, the youngest patient was 4 years old, the oldest 88 and women slightly outnumbered men, with a median age of 32. About 12 percent were at high risk, Chang said.

Of the 235 cases, 38 were locally acquired while 197 were imported, according to Chang.

The first imported case came from Asia, but the highest number of transmissions originated in the United States, which accounted for 21 percent of the total, followed by the United Kingdom, with 16 percent, and by France, Turkey and Spain, Chang said.

In terms of age, two patients are under 10 years old, Chang added. Eighty-four of the patients are between the ages of 20-29, which runs counter to many foreign reports that seniors are the main victims of the new coronavirus, he said.

Chang attributed the high rate of young adults contracting the virus to the higher exposure of young Taiwanese while traveling, studying or working overseas. This differs from the massive community-level contagion seen in other countries, he said.

Of the 235 cases analyzed, 73 percent displayed mild or moderate symptoms such as a fever or cough. Forty-eight patients exhibited symptoms of mild pneumonia, while only 14 suffered from severe pneumonia or shortness of breath, including seven hospitalized at intensive care units on respirators.

In the meantime, 11 showed no symptoms, Chang said.

Currently 205 are hospitalized, with a median of 19.5 days of treatment after showing symptoms before returning a negative test, he said.

Generally speaking, it takes a median of 24 days for patients to be released from isolation quarantine after testing negative three consecutive times, he said.

However, in some cases, it has taken 40-50 days for patients to produce three negative tests in a row, Chang said.

(By Flor Wang, Chen Wei-ting and Yu Hsiao-han)

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