HKU research estimates 1 in every 2 people in HK has tested positive for COVID-19, fifth wave reached its peak on 4th March


15th March 2022 – (Hong Kong) According to the latest calculations by the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong, the fifth wave of the epidemic reached its peak on 4th March. As of 14th March, it is estimated that 3.58 million people in Hong Kong have been infected, that is, one in every two people has tested positive for COVID-19. If the social contact of citizens remains at the current low level, it is estimated that by the end of this month, the number of infected patients and the corresponding number of confirmed cases will drop more significantly to 1,000 by end of April and 100 by mid-May. The estimated number of infections will reach 4.48 million and the death toll will reach 5,102 by then.

Compared with last week’s projection on 7th March, the cumulative number of infected people in Hong Kong was estimated at 1.84 million. A week later, on 14th March, the estimated number of infections increased by 1.74 million to 3.58 million. In particular, the study noted that over the past weekend, Octopus usage figures showed that citizens have started to travel more in the community. If citizens begin to resume more frequent social contact, the spread of the COVID-19 will accelerate again and the number of infections will increase, making the above estimates lower than the actual number of infections and deaths subsequently.

The study also analysed the death cases of the elderly and found that the time from onset to death for the elderly in residential care homes aged 70 or above was shorter than that of the elderly living in the community. The onset-to-death time was 8.0 days after infection for the elderly aged 70 years or older in residential homes and the onset-to-death time after infection in the same age group in the community was 10.5 days.

After the data was updated, it was assumed that the population of seniors of all ages living in residential care homes was about 75,000, and the prediction model also took into account the higher risk of infection and death for the elderly in residential care homes. As of 11th March, data from the Centre for Health Protection showed that 91% of residential care homes for the elderly (RCHE) had outbreaks, 31% of residents were diagnosed with COVID-19, and RCHEs accounted for 58.9% of the fifth wave of deaths.

The study also pointed out that the implementation of the home-based vaccination program in RCHEs assumes that 90% of the elderly in residential care homes will receive at least one shot before 18th March, and 90% of those who received the first shot after 4th March will be vaccinated.