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Severe COVID-19 death rate declines sharply since June: Japan health ministry

The Central Government Building No. 5, which houses the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, is seen in this file photo taken in Tokyo's Kasumigaseki district. (Mainichi/Kimi Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- The proportion of COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms who died after being hospitalized during the "second wave" of coronavirus infections that began in June fell to nearly half that recorded during the initial outbreak in the spring, Japan's health ministry announced on Oct. 23.

    The ministry analyzed the cases of some 6,100 people admitted to hospitals nationwide who had been registered in a National Center for Global Health and Medicine database as of Sept. 4. According to the findings, of patients requiring treatment for severe COVID-19 symptoms at time of hospitalization, such as being hooked up to a ventilator, 19.4% died between the start of the outbreak and June 5. However, that dropped to 10.1% from June 6 onward.

    As for each age group, the fatality rate of patients aged 29 or younger, and patients aged between 30 and 49, both fell to 0%, from 5.6% and 2.2%, respectively. The mortality rate of patients aged between 50 and 69 dropped from 10.9% to 1.4%, while that of those aged 70 or older decreased from 31.2% to 20.8%.

    At an Oct. 23 press conference, health minister Norihisa Tamura credited the creation of set treatment regimens and healthcare system improvements for the better numbers.

    (Japanese original by Hidenori Yazawa, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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