Outside Guam Monument Hospital, blue medical tents have sprung up to accommodate a flood of Cubid patients.
The sight drives the residents of Guam crazy. The island ran an incredibly successful vaccination campaign, with almost 90% of those eligible receiving two doses, and even began offering incidents to tourists as part of the “Air VnV” program – vacation and vaccination.
But the tents have been set up to accommodate a flood of Cubid patients at the hospital as the area faces a third wave of the virus, with daily deaths reaching the highest rates since March 2020.
“We just don’t have a place – we have Cubid patients waiting outside,” said Pauline Peres, a nurse at the hospital, in a video released by the government calling on other vaccines to get their shots.
“We use the blue medicine tents for Covid-19 patients that are stable. They need to be checked by doctors but they do not need treatment.”
Even before the onset of the epidemic, Guam’s healthcare system was fragile, but the surge in the Cubid cases caused by the Delta version pushed it to the brink of collapse.
Last week the government hospital halted its services in all selection surgeries in order to change its limited resources.
“The issue is the issue, which is why we have stopped elective surgery to release more staff to support more patients,” said May Habib, a spokeswoman for the hospital.
The regional medical city of Guam, a private hospital, is in the same predicament.
“We are in a crisis. I will not fly it at all,” said Dr. Alexander Willard, his medical director. “We have seen an abnormal number of patients.”
“I cried after hearing the news”
Guam has seen close to 300 cases on some days in recent weeks, making it a steady decline in months. It recorded 14,705 cases – nine percent of Guam’s 160,000 population – and 195 deaths.
The results of the cube tests in the last two months have shown an alarming rate of burglary cases of people who have been vaccinated, including 554 out of 1,765 positive cases in August. In total, breakthrough cases represent 31% of infections – the highest rate in the US, where in most countries there are less than 1%. Breakthrough patients in Guam make up about 40% of hospitalizations.
The rise in Cubid is embarrassing for territory with a vaccination rate close to 90%, which is ranked sixth in the United States. Currently, a total of 118,756 people – or 87.13% – of the eligible population in Guam (residents aged 12 and over) are fully vaccinated. This includes 10,318 residents aged 12 to 17.
The high rate of burglary has led to fear in the community.
“One of my cops got the results of the shower test and it came out positive,” said Dori Leumu, a resident of Tamuning. “I cried after hearing the news. This is the first time I feel anxious. The next day, we were all at work going for sponge tests. Thank God I tested negative.”
“Do not take the numbers out of context”
Although there has been some deliberation on vaccines, experts warn that vaccines work to protect civilians, estimating that the number of cases would be three times higher than they would be if the vaccination rate was not so high and that when vaccinated people are hospitalized, their stays remain much shorter and much less serious.
“Obviously most people who stay longer in the hospital are not vaccinated. The average length of stay for those who are vaccinated is around two days. These are minor charges and use less resources in the hospital than those who are not vaccinated,” said Dr. Nathan Berg, who heads the physicians’ advisory group. Of the governor.
As to why there was such a large third wave on the island, experts point to a number of factors.
“The best guess about our high rate may be related to our immediate family culture and high morbidity, which could lower the immune system,” said Dr. Hua Ngein, chairman of the governors ‘physicians’ advisory group.
He attributes the increase in the removal of restrictions on social gatherings such as weddings and funerals, and believes Guam may return to routine prematurely when the Delta version arrives on the island.
“You have to look at the number of tests we do,” says Berg, who pointed to the fact that Guam’s test rate is higher than any other state in the U.S. “It’s a good thing and these numbers should not be taken out of context.”
He added that the people who died even though we were fully vaccinated had any permanent morbidity.
Dr. Peter Lombard, a member of the advisory group, attributed the high rate of break-ins to the efficacy of the vaccine drop six months after administration.
“I trust the data is real. Now is that a cause for concern? That’s the question,” he said. “One thing you need to do is look at other places that have good vaccination rates and high vaccine allocation at an early stage.
“Looking at the distribution of vaccines and the scope of vaccines given to Guam, I suspect this is because we have a larger vaccinated population at an early stage and the effectiveness of vaccines has declined faster than we see in other countries.”
Lombard also said that early removal of the restrictions is partly responsible for the jump in Covid.
Lombard and Berg agreed that Guam enjoyed her high vaccination rate, with Lombard saying Guam’s number of cases would have been three times worse had it not been for the vaccine campaign.
Berg said that despite the recent Cubid leap, “if you look at the mortality rate of the population, we are still successful – it is an achievement in itself.”