Record infections, few deaths: how Qatar has tackled COVID

first_imgQatar has the world’s highest per-capita coronavirus infection rate but one of the lowest death rates, due to extensive testing, a young population and lavish healthcare spending. With 40,702 cases per million since the pandemic began, Qatar is well ahead of next-placed Bahrain, which has seen nearly 29,000 cases per million, and San Marino at just over 21,000.Here is an explanation of why Qatar, home to 2.75 million people, has reported so many positive cases and how it has tackled the public health emergency. What was the testing strategy? Unlike some Gulf countries which have opted for dragnet testing, Doha has zeroed in on groups more vulnerable to infection, including migrant laborers and Qataris returning from overseas.More than one in five residents have now been tested, and at the height of the pandemic, more than one in four of those tests were positive, according to a laboratory source.Luxembourg leads the world testing rankings with 755 per 1,000 people since the pandemic began; Qatar ranks ninth globally with 203. Why is the fatality rate so low?Gas-rich Qatar’s heavy investment in its health system in recent years, coupled with its unusually young population of migrant workers, helped keep its fatality rate among the lowest in the world, authorities and experts say.Just 194 people have died — only 0.17 percent of those infected, according to official statistics.Qatar’s death rate of 67 deaths per million population is the second lowest in the Gulf Cooperation Council bloc, behind only the UAE at 37 per million. By contrast, the US has reported 523 deaths per million.”The reason being they probably have [one of] the best health systems — they are well-equipped and they were well prepared,” Abdinasir Abubakar, from the World Health Organization’s regional office, told AFP.Qatar’s critical care infrastructure also proved resilient, in contrast to some countries where the death rate has been much higher.The Gulf state’s intensive care units reached only 76 percent capacity at the peak of the outbreak, the health ministry said.”A strong history of health sector investment [ensured] everybody who needed hospital care was able to receive it free of charge,” Khal said. “Because of our low threshold for testing, we have identified many more asymptomatic and mild cases of the virus than other countries,” the chair of the National Strategic Group on COVID-19 Abdullatif al-Khal told AFP.But beyond that, Qatar has faced local outbreaks that spread fast because of its reliance on foreign laborers living in cramped, unsanitary conditions, as it transforms the country ahead of the 2022 World Cup.Antoine Flahault, co-director of the Swiss School of Public Health, told AFP that other countries with large populations of migrant workers, including Singapore and other Gulf nations, faced similar spikes in cases.”Singapore had a surge in cases last April which initiated in dormitories of migrant workers with poor levels of sanitation [and] health insurance,” he said.Qatari capital Doha’s outlying Industrial Area, the scene of the country’s first surge of reported cases, was sealed by security forces and flooded with public health teams to contain the outbreak. Officials say strict new rules were brought in to improve hygiene in migrant workers’ quarters. Why does Qatar have the highest per-capita infection rate? Qatar’s health authorities are adamant that their high per-capita infection rate is down to one factor above all: testing.Almost 600,000 people have been tested for the novel coronavirus, over a fifth of the population.  Is there risk of a second spike?As of August 20, Qatar’s “R” rate, the number of people each infected person goes on to infect, had dropped to “well below 1 and remains stable,” said Khal.The country has posted new daily infection rates hovering in the 200-range in the past week — but those are far lower than the 2,355 cases reported on May 30.”Qatar has partially lifted some restrictions and we could expect some resurgence,” said the WHO’s Abubakar. “But we expect they will maintain some measures and intensify testing and tracing, and management of cases.”Social distancing rules are enforced in workplaces and public areas, masks are required in shops and when outdoors for reasons other than exercise.Wary of another wave of infections, authorities have take extraordinary measures, even including the public naming of Qataris breaching self-quarantine — something unprecedented in the traditional society. Topics :last_img read more

Trojans look to Beavers

first_imgPodcast: Can the Trojans break their cold-streak in the State of Oregon?In 2005, the Trojans left Eugene, Ore., satisfied after delivering a hearty 45-13 thumping to the Ducks.Forging ahead · Redshirt junior tailback Marc Tyler had 31 carries for 160 yards and a touchdown against Arizona last Saturday. The Trojans enter their game against Oregon State with a 7-3 record and a No. 20 ranking. – TIm Tran | Daily Trojan Since then, USC has found no joy playing in the state of Oregon, losing alternatively to Oregon State and the Ducks for four consecutive years.The No. 20 Trojans look to finally snap that mysterious streak Saturday when they travel to Corvallis to face the Beavers. Kickoff is at 5 p.m.The Beavers, who were ranked No. 24 in the AP at a few different points this season, suffered their fifth loss this season in embarrassing fashion last week at home against Washington State, which had not won a Pac-10 contest in 16 tries.But the Beavers still have elusive running back Jacquizz Rodgers, who infamously ran for 186 yards and two touchdowns in the 2008 upset of the No. 1 Trojans. That game, of course, was played at Reser Stadium.The 5-foot-7, 191-pound Rodgers is third in the Pac-10 with 99.2 yards per game behind Oregon’s LaMichael James and Cal’s Shane Vereen.“He’s a lot like LaMichael James,” redshirt junior linebacker Chris Galippo said.The Trojans have been tackling at practice during the last three weeks, something USC coach Lane Kiffin was reluctant to do early in the season because of the risk of injury. Galippo said there has been a measurable improvement as a result of the change.“Absolutely, especially in the games,” Galippo said. “It’s been incredible how low that missed tackle ratio has gotten in games ever since we started doing those drills.”Improved defense and the continued stellar play of the offense have put the Trojans on an upward swing. They have won back-to-back games for the first time since opening the season 4-0.But Kiffin said the Trojans must be wary of overconfidence, which seems to have seeped into the team’s practice mentality this week.Kiffin said there was a “disappointing” lack of intensity in practice at the beginning of the week, something the Trojans could not afford heading into their final true road trip of the year.“This is the time of year that this happens to some teams as you get close to finals and everything, and you’ve been going for a long time,” Kiffin said. “These guys have been out here for a lot of weeks in a row. It’s a challenge and one that we’re going to have to figure out before Saturday.”To add injury to insult, freshman tailback Dillon Baxter was hospitalized Thursday for unspecified reasons.Another thing the Trojans might have going against them is the weather. The forecast for Saturday calls for temperatures in the 30s and a 60 percent chance of rain in Corvallis. USC practiced with a wet ball this week to prepare for the potential inclement weather.The Trojans should have the advantage up front, however, especially when the Beavers have the ball. The Oregon State offensive line gives up almost three sacks a game and starts mostly walk-ons or former walk-ons.USC is seventh in the conference in sacks, but the defensive line has been hampered by injuries. Redshirt sophomore defensive ends Nick Perry (ankle) and Wes Horton (back) haven’t been at full strength all season.Still, Saturday could present the right matchups for a breakout performance.“I think the big issues for us are handling their defensive line,” said Oregon State coach Mike Riley. “Whatever we’re going to try to do, it’s going to be very important that we can block.”The USC offensive line has hit its stride the last few games, opening up holes for redshirt junior tailback Marc Tyler. Though Tyler complained of soreness earlier in the week, he is on track to start against the Beavers. Tyler has rushed for 279 yards on 43 carries in his last two games.last_img read more