WHO reports Poland had highest mortality rate in Europe. Minister blames "two factors"

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TVN24Drive-thru vaccination point in Wałbrzych in southwest Poland

"Nearly all doctors working with COVID patients point out people report their condition far too late" - Deputy Health Minister Waldemar Kraska told TVN24 on Thursday. He commented on the high number of deaths of COVID-19 patients. According to the WHO report for the last week, Poland had the highest mortality rate in Europe. Lawmaker from the PiS party and former deputy health minister Bolesław Piecha said the death rate was an aftermath of the third wave of the pandemic. Opposition MP Monika Wielichowska (Civic Coalition) said that PM Mateusz Morawiecki had mentioned Poland was a leading country in the fight against the pandemic, but "he didn't add we were leading the mortality rate list".

Health Ministry reported 12,762 coronavirus infection cases and 694 COVID-related deaths on Thursday. The latter figure was the 6th-highest since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

According to the World Health Organisation data for the last week (12-18 April), Poland had the highest number of deaths of COVID-19 patients in Europe - 3,611. Earlier on, Eurostat informed that the percentage of surplus deaths in Poland during the pandemic, compared with 2016-2019 period, amounted to 23,5 percent - the highest figure in the European Union.

Deputy Health Minister Waldemar Kraska told TVN24 on Thursday there were two factors responsible for this rate of COVID deaths in Poland. First, he said, patients come to doctors too late.

"Nearly all doctors working with COVID patients point out people report their condition far too late" - he said and explained they usually come already with breathing difficulties, when large part of lungs are already inflamed.

As to the second factor, he said "the British mutation is completely different from the classic coronavirus". He added that patients suffer this kind of infection much worse.

"We have the highest number of deaths. This is an aftermath of the third wave of the pandemic, which surprised us with its scale" - said former deputy health minister Bolesław Piecha, a PiS party lawmaker.

He added that "a lot of patients are being hospitalised today, especially in ventilator wards, that is in intensive care". "It's a serious decision to hook someone to the ventilator and the mortality rate in such cases (...) is very high. I think that in the next few days those figures will be much higher than before, that is 500-600 daily" - he explained.

Piecha also said "Poles aren't the best society in the EU in terms of health condition". "If we add on top of that issues such as underfinanced health care, shortage of doctors, then the result is what it is" - he added.

Opposition Civic Coalition MP Monika Wielichowska said that when global mortality rate data had been announced, PM Mateusz Morawiecki "in good spirits" told public television that "we're leaders in fight against the pandemic".

"He forgot to add we're leaders in deaths" - she said.

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Źródło: TVN24 News in English,

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Andrzej Lange/PAP