Vietnam, like Taiwan, is so far one of the great COVID-19 success stories. Despite sharing a border with China they have fewer than 300 confirmed cases and not a single reported coronavirus-related death. And they’re going to some extreme lengths to keep it that way.
A Vietnam Airlines pilot from the U.K. is the most critically ill patient with the virus in the country right now. The 43 year old captain with pre-existing conditions is known only as “Patient 91.”
He picked up the virus in mid-March in a Ho Chi Minh City bar. The government there tracked and traced 4000 people connected to the event and found 18 were positive with the virus. Most of those have recovered.
The pilot, though, has been on life support for 30 days with just 10% of lung capacity. The country has spent over US$200,000 on his care – a huge sum for the Southeast Asian country – and he’s become a cause celebre leading at least 10 people – including a 70 year old man – to offer to become lung donors for the man.
The country has declined these offers, because lung transplants from living donors are against their medical rules. Lung transplants are at the frontier of serious COVID-19 treatment – China reports a successful double lung transplant on a patient with advanced lung damage from the virus.