An epidemiologic sketch of COVID-19 in Vietnam

We know that the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in Wuhan (China) around November (not December) 2019. Vietnam recorded the first case of COVID-19, a Chinese tourist, on Jan 23, 2020. However, little data on the pandemic from Vietnam have been published. In this note, I provide a broad epidemiologic picture of the 194 cases that have been diagnosed in Vietnam.

Between Jan 23 and now (Mar 30), 194 patients infected with Wuhan virus (SARS-cov-2) have been diagnosed in Vietnam. The individual patients data are available in wikipedia [1]. Unfortunately, the data are very limited, with only demographic characteristics (eg gender, age and nationality) being provided. There are no clinical data, either in the form of comorbidities or treatment are available. Nevertheless, the data are still useful for us to have a glimsee into the pandemic in Vietnam. Actually, it is not really a 'pandemic' in Vietnam, because the number of cases is still very low.

I have downloaded the data and formatted it in a csv file. By using R (my favorite program), I could get some nice graphs, and here is a highlight of some key points:



Gender: Just over half of the patients (53%; 103 / 193) were women. This proportion is higher than that in Wuhan, where 49% of 44,672 patients were women.


Figure 1: The distribution of age at diagnosis for 91 men and 102 women. Sorry for the Vietnamese labels: x-axis represents age, and y-axis represents the density probability. The median age at diagnosis is 29.


Age: There were 186 patients whose age was ascertained (ie 8 missing values). The average age was 35, with range being 3 months of age to 88 years (Figure 1). Fifty percent of patients aged 29 or younger. In fact, only 11% (20 / 186) patients aged 60 and older. In other words, patients infected with Wuhan virus in Vietnam were much younger than, say, Germany (average age: 47) or Italy (63 yr).

Nationality: Among 194 patients, 44 (23%) were overseas visitors or workers. Among the overseas patients, 17 were from the UK, 5 from the USA, 5 France. There were also patients from Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Latvia, Czech, South Africa, and China (Figure 2).


Figure 2: The number of COVID-19 cases in Vietnam stratified by nationality. Again, sorry for the Vietnamese labels: x-axis is the number of patients, and y-axis is nationality.

Sources: Among 190 patients with COVID-19, 88 patients (46%) were from Vietnamese students and workers returning from overseas, 44 (23%) were from overseas visitors. Only 9 patients reported that they had visited China prior to the diagnosis.

Treatment status: Until now (30/3), 24 patients have been recovered and discharged from hospitals. The rest (88%) are still being treated in various hospitals in the country. I could not work out the hospital length of stay because data were not available. However, among those are being treated, the total number of bed-days was 1541.

Mortality: There have been no deaths reported during the follow-up period.


In summary, between 23/1/2020 and 30/3/2020, Vietnam has recorded 194 cases of COVID-19, without any death. Although a majority of COVID-19 patients in Vietnam was women and young people who returned from overseas, a significant proportion (~23%) were from overseas visitors.

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[1] https://vi.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%90%E1%BA%A1i_d%E1%BB%8Bch_COVID-19_t%E1%BA%A1i_Vi%E1%BB%87t_Nam

[2] https://github.com/cmrivers/ncov/blob/master/COVID-19.pdf

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