It’s been more than a year since the deadly coronavirus wreaked havoc in our country, and even after several efforts to contain the spread of it, the second wave of the virus is currently spreading like wildfire in the nation.
India, which is the fourth-worst COVID-hit country, currently has over 13 million cases with Delhi recording around 8,521 cases on Friday.
While we all know the most common symptoms for COVID are dry cough, fever, loss of taste, and smell, but what most people are unaware of, is when to isolate or get tested because COVID-19 has a wide range of symptoms and medical complications.
To curb the spread of this deadly virus some precautions can be easily exercised by each individual on a daily basis.
Never ever leave your house without gloves and masks. It would be better to think of these essentials as your bodily extensions which cannot be left home at any cost. Keep on replacing them at relative intervals.
Sanitize your hands after roughly every surface you happen to touch, whether it is in public transports, your local market, or any other place. It is of utmost importance that hands are sanitized each time.
Make sure not to ever sneeze or cough in the open. Always carry a small packet of tissues or handkerchief, and keep on replacing them during relevant intervals.
If you experience any COVID symptoms like cough, fever, breathlessness, or loss of sense of taste or smell, stop going to the office or meeting other people with immediate effect and seek medical health. Also, tell others who came in your contact to do the same if it happens to them as well.
Experts from Ujala Cygnus Hospital, Genestrings Diagnostic Centre, Columbia Asia Hospital, Paras Hospital, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, and Council for Healthcare and Pharma shared their inputs on the current COVID scenario to spread awareness among people.
Dr Arunesh Kumar, HOD, Paras Chest Institute and Sr. Pulmonologist, Paras Hospital, Gurugram said, “The increase in the intensity of the pandemic has led Covid-19 to spread at a rapid pace in the second wave. People’s participation is very important in controlling the second wave. Especially in the next four weeks, the whole country will have to unite and fight the pandemic. Covid-19 appropriate practices, safety norms, prevention measures, and most importantly testing have to be implemented more efficiently, medical facilities have to be ramped up and vaccination has to be done in order to fight the second wave more quickly. We know that vaccination prevents severe COVID disease hence ramping up of vaccination is way forward.”
Dr Gauri Agarwal, Founder-Director, Genestrings Diagnostic Centre talked about the factors that may have led to the rise in the number of cases and said, “The primary reason for the rise in cases is a rampant violation of COVID protocols. From the end of last year, we have seen how people have been careless about following COVID protocols and this rise in cases is no surprise. The other factor can be the various mutations of the virus, some of which may have been more transmissible than others. However, a more in-depth understanding of the mutant strains and their virulence is needed by conducting genome sequencing of more samples.”
“India needs to increase RT-PCR tests rapidly to identify active cases and isolate them from healthy people. The suggestion coming from the Prime Minister of setting up micro-containment zones and increasing testing can help increase the intensity and effectiveness of COVID testing. Besides, more people must be brought under the vaccination net and the government should urgently address the reported shortage of vaccines if any,” Dr Agarwal added.
Dr Shuchin Bajaj, Founder and Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals spoke about the new variant of COVID and said, “The new variant spreads easily and quicker than any other variant. All mutations or variants may not be transmissible or cause infection, and there is still no clarity on which strain causes which symptoms. Nowadays, we are seeing new covid strain, and some newer symptoms are found in patients like fever, pain in muscles, dry and persistent cough, and loss of smell and taste. In addition to conjunctivitis, sore throat, headache, rashes, upset stomach, and discolouration of fingers and toes.”
“The best advice is if you see any of these symptoms, it’s best to practice isolation from other members of the family. The next step would be to reach out to your doctor and get the requisite tests. In the current times, quick recognition of symptoms and alert action can save lives,” Dr Bajaj added.
“The number of COVID patients admitted in the hospital has increased substantially in the past fortnight. However, the death rate is lower than last time so far. In addition to the typical COVID symptoms such as fever, pain in muscles, dry and persistent cough, and loss of smell and taste, many this time are reporting additional symptoms like conjunctivitis, headache, diarrhea, and discolored fingers and toes,” said Dr Piyush Goel, Senior Consultant- Pulmonary and Critical Care, Columbia Asia Hospital, Palam Vihar, Gurugram.
There can be several reasons for this sudden spike such as lack of adherence to COVID protocol by people in general, a more transmissible mutation in the virus, to mention a few.
Dr Vijay Dutta, Senior Consultant – Internal Medicine, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, talked about the negligence of people and said, “Even after more than a year, there is not much change in the way COVID-19 infections are increasing, mainly due to poor adherence to COVID protocols such as mask-wearing and maintaining physical distancing. After the number of active cases started dropping late last year, people were careless enough to celebrate festivals, go to busy and crowded markets without masks.”
“The rise in COVID-19 cases that we are seeing is no surprise. People are not following mask discipline after vaccination and we are seeing even after getting both the doses, vaccinated people are getting infected. Another aspect is new symptoms of the disease which is creating a problem in detection. More people are now getting infected; therefore, the death rate is also increasing. There is no change in the treatment protocol of COVID-positive patients,” he further added.
Talking about the vaccine situation in our nation, Dr Gurpreet Sandhu, President, Council for Healthcare and Pharma, said, “Despite the best efforts of the authorities the ongoing pandemic has brought out some of the inequities in healthcare access that continue to plague our country. Meanwhile, vaccine hesitancy in several parts of the country needs to be addressed. So, there is a need to reenergize our efforts to spread the ‘good word’ on vaccines to every nook and corner of the country. This too would help in bringing about health equity in the country. With the vaccination drive underway, a certain amount of over-confidence and negligent behavior is in evidence.”
“Indiscipline in adhering to safety norms at religious and political rallies coupled with overcrowding at social functions is resulting in another kind of vulnerability. A spike in infections once again brings to the fore the need for more ventilators, life-saving medical equipment, vaccines as well as doctors and paramedics, putting pressure on the already reeling healthcare infrastructure,” Dr Sandhu.
The second wave has created the need to revisit resource planning, as well as take charge of Covid preparedness and Covid management strategies. People also need to exercise continued caution by following the successful protocols of hand sanitization, masking, and social distancing as a means to curtail the second wave of the virus. (ANI)