Doctor says a COVID-19 patient is like a 'biological weapon'

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“A person who is infected with COVID-19 can be considered a biological weapon,” said Jēkabpils Regional Hospital board member, neurosurgeon Renārs Putniņš, in an interview on Latvian Television December 15.

Putniņš said that the situation in health care is nearly like wartime:  “We are not far from it. If we gradually increase the number of beds day by day, that's a very serious signal. Nor do we see the end yet.”

Liene Cipule, Director of the Emergency Medical Service (NMPD), agreed to the seriousness of the situation. She estimated that in hospitals the number of COVID-19 patients could reach and even exceed a thousand, which was previously described as a critical limit.

“We are already providing all this assistance at the expense of other patients. It should be understood that there are no new beds, no new staff.  All this is already at the expense of internal resources and of other patients,” Cipule said.

The NMPD increasingly needs to decide whether patients should be taken to hospitals. 46-48% of patients who are seen by the emergency team are hospitalized.

Both medical workers also commented on part of the society's dismissive attitude toward epidemiological safety.

Putniņš said, “It's really dangerous. We can think of the infected person as a biological weapon. He goes and spreads this infection further if he doesn't wear a protective mask. (..) If people are irresponsible, I have nothing else to say,  it is like illiteracy.”

Cipule said: “The medics work as firefighters. And people who breach the restrictions are setting buildings on fire. It's a process where the public goes into symbiosis with paramedics. I very much call on people to be responsible!”

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