Most COVID-19 cases showed symptoms, almost half were hospitalized — study
MANILA, Philippines — A study conducted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) showed that most COVID-19 cases showed symptoms of the disease while almost half required hospital stay, Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said Thursday.
These were among the initial results of the DOST study titled “Clinical Characteristics and Transmission Patterns of COVID-19 in Confirmed Cases and their Contacts in the Philippines,” as of October, Dela Peña said in an online forum.
According to Dela Peña, the project aims to understand the key clinical epidemiological and virological characteristics of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and their close contacts.
He said the project also studied COVID-19 transmission patterns and disease severity and analyzed the spectrum of disease and its impact in the community.
“Based on the project’s preliminary data, it was noted that 83.41 percent of enrolled cases presented with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection. Based on the case hospitalization ratio, COVID-19 cases present a challenge to our healthcare system as almost half of the cases are hospitalized,” Dela Peña said.
“Males are also found to be more likely to develop the severe and critical presentation. Patients 18 years old and above had mild classification or were asymptomatic while those in the older age group had severe and critical classifications,” he added.
A post on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in July last year earlier noted that “data suggest that more men than women are dying of coronavirus disease 2019 worldwide, but it is unclear why.”
“A biopsychosocial approach is critical for understanding the disproportionate death rate among men. Biological, psychological, behavioral, and social factors may put men at disproportionate risk of death,” the post read.
Meanwhile, the DOST study also noted that 64.9 percent of cases had contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days and that nearly all of the exposures happened at home and at the workplace.
The most common reported symptoms, meanwhile, are cough, fever, headache, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of appetite, runny nose, diarrhea, muscle aches, loss of smell and taste, and fatigue, while the most common complication is pneumonia, followed by acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Dr. Timothy John Dizon from the project team said in the same forum that they studied COVID-19 patients admitted or quarantined at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the Ospital ng Muntinlupa.
“We limited the exclusion criteria of our patients so only patients who have agreed to participate and have signed the informed consent were included in the study. We also recruited their close contacts and tested them for SARS-CoV-2,” said Dizon.
“All cases and contacts were observed for 14 to 21 days. Besides this, we also conducted serological testing using their blood and whole-genome sequencing using their blood samples,” he added.
Based on the DOST’s catalog of projects for 2021, the research has a project cost of P9.7 million and is being implemented by the RITM. Its launch date was the third quarter of the year.
Dela Peña said the information gathered on the research will help guide the Department of Health and other policy-makers in formulating guidelines for case isolation, contact tracing, and disease control and prevention. The study will also help improve and guide efforts to understand the transmission of COVID-19 in order to prevent the further spread of the disease.
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