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498 pneumonia, respiratory deaths in four months

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  • 498 pneumonia, respiratory deaths in four months


    498 pneumonia, respiratory deaths in four months
    by Mark Bassant, Lead Editor, Investigative Desk
    22 hours ago

    Over the last four months, 498 people have died from pneumonia and respiratory illnesses in T&T, according to official figures obtained from the Registry of Births and Deaths at the Ministry of Legal Affairs.

    Based on official figures obtained by Sunday Guardian from insiders at the ministry, from December 2019 to the end of March 2020--498 people from areas across the country died from these illnesses.

    In December, while the country's borders were still open, 83 people died of pneumonia and 46 from respiratory illnesses, while in January the figure for pneumonia was 69, with 43 people dying from respiratory illnesses.

    In February, 71 people died from pneumonia, while 39 died from respiratory causes.

    In March, the number of people who died from pneumonia rose significantly to 96, while deaths from respiratory illnesses also rose in this month to 51 from the previous month.

    Prior to this country's decision to start rigid testing for COVID-19 from March 6 this year and the country recording its first known positive case six days later on March 12, T&T recorded 351 deaths from pneumonia and respiratory illnesses from December 2019 to the end of February 2020.

    During the month of March the country recorded four COVID-19 related deaths--March 25, 27, 28, and 31.

    The first confirmed death in T&T--on March 25--came four days after Minister of National Security Stuart Young announced the complete closure of the country's borders and one day after Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced that the stay-at-home order would become effective March 30 to April 15. That order was later extended to April 30.

    The PM has now announced that borders will remain closed until May 15, while stay-at home orders remain in effect until May 10.

    On April 1, 2, 5, and 6 the country recorded its next four deaths. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 in T&T still stands at eight.

    The number of people who succumbed to pneumonia and respiratory diseases before the month of March, prior to this country testing for COVID-19, has raised concerns about whether they could have contracted COVID-19 or died from complications associated with the virus.

    COVID-19 attacks a person's respiratory tract, through the airway of the mouth, nose, lungs, and throat. Your lungs may become inflamed, making it difficult to breathe. This can lead to pneumonia, which attacks your lungs, leading to possible death in some cases.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the world since the outbreak in Wuhan, China, in December last year. The world has recorded over 2.5 million cases with over 180,000 plus deaths to date and with the figure still climbing.

    Over the last three weeks, the Sunday Guardian reached out to Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasaram via phone and text messages to shed some light on the issue. Parasram was questioned on whether there was a possibility that some of these people who died from pneumonia and respiratory illnesses prior to March could have been as a result of COVID-19.

    It was explained that figures from December to March were related to deaths caused by pneumonia, respiratory illness, cancer, hypertension, and diabetes.

    The questions posed to Dr Parasram dealt specifically with deaths from the first two illnesses...