High COVID-19 death toll in Poland due to help seeked too late: expert

The president of Warsaw Family Physicians, Dr. Michał Sutkowski, said in an interview with the Polish Press Agency (PAP) that the high number of deaths from COVID-19 is partly due to the fact that people ask for help too late. In his opinion, in many cases, medics simply cannot do anymore to help.

Dr. Sutkowski emphasised that people should be urged to report to GPs after experiencing the first symptoms of COVID-19. In his opinion, the doctor will assess the situation better than the patient himself and perhaps pay attention to other issues and decide to order the test. He added that the high mortality rate in recent weeks in Poland is also related to the lack of visit to doctors by people suffering from other diseases who are afraid of human contact from therapy during the pandemic.

“Many sick people seek help when it is too late. Doctors visit people in critical condition, and how can they help? Often these are elderly people with many other diseases and medics have their hands tied at that time, because their treatment options are extremely limited”, noted Dr. Sutkowski. He also drew attention to a very disturbing phenomenon whereby some people deliberately avoid acknowledging that they are infected.

The expert points out that Polish epidemiological culture has been neglected for years. “In the West, 60 or 70 percent of people get vaccinated against the flu. [Whereas in Poland] We have 3 or 4 percent vaccinated. For years, no one from society taught people not to go to work when sick. This has not been discussed in school, nobody paid attention to it throughout the entire period of our upbringing, so now we are rapidly making up for the shortcomings in our education”, he said.

Dr. Sutkowski estimated that the daily number of COVID-19 deaths should begin to decline in 10-14 days. In his opinion, the restrictions introduced earlier should be loosened very carefully, and, for example, the return of children to school should be slow and spread over many weeks.