A 30-year-old patient died after attending a "Covid party", believing the virus to be a hoax, a Texas medical official has said.
"Just before the patient died, they looked at their nurse and said 'I think I made a mistake, I thought this was a hoax, but it's not,'" said Dr Jane Appleby, the chief medical officer at Methodist hospital in San Antonio.
Dr Appleby said: “I don’t want to be an alarmist, and we’re just trying to share some real-world examples to help our community realise that this virus is very serious and can spread easily.”
A “Covid party” is a gathering held by somebody diagnosed with coronavirus to see if the virus is real and to see if anyone gets infected, she explained.
Dr Appleby said in her filmed comments at the weekend that she had been spurred to reveal the case after seeing a “concerning” rise in infections. She said 22 per cent of tests were revealing a case of Covid-19, up from just 5 per cent a few weeks ago.
A broader age range were being affected, with several 20 and 30 year olds critically ill at the Methodist hospital, she said.
“Please wear a mask, stay at home when you can, avoid groups of people and sanitise your hands,” said Dr Appleby.
The call for caution came as top officials in Houston urged the city to lock back down as hospitals struggled to accommodate new coronavirus cases.
Houston mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said a stay-at-home order was needed for America's fourth-largest city to cope with the surge.
Last week, Texas continued to break records for confirmed cases and deaths linked to the disease. State health officials reported 8,196 new cases on Sunday, another 80 deaths and a total of 10,410 people hospitalised due to the virus.
The decision over a lockdown, however, rests with Republican governor Greg Abbott, who has resisted this step, saying it should be a last resort. – Guardian