COVID-19 cases, deaths on the rise

With the second wave of COVID-19 making its impact in the State, new cases and deaths are beginning to rise again. Even as the government is preparing to increase the surge capacity in hospitals, ICUs are beginning to fill up, doctors say.

With reports about doctors scrambling to find beds and ICUs, sick patients occupying ventilators for longer duration and the cascading effect it creates trickling in from neighbouring States, doctors have renewed their appeal to people to get themselves tested and treated early.

“A patient claiming to have had fever only for a day might worsen suddenly but in all probability he would have ignored fatigue or other mild symptoms that he might have experienced since the past four days,” points out R. Aravind, the Head of Infectious Diseases, Thiruvananthapuram Medical College.

Though COVID-19 has been around since the past one year and doctors have successfully treated lakhs, the entire success of treatment and prevention of mortality hinges on a single factor: time.

“There is no definitive treatment and protocols are pretty standardised but the one factor that might make the crucial difference between one patient succumbing to the disease and another managing to surpass the crisis, is time,” Dr. Aravind says.

Even now, it is delays in seeking hospital care which is the significant factor pushing up the fatality rate.

It was to manage the surge capacity that the State took the policy decision to keep patients with mild symptoms under home care, as is done world over. However, the message about seeking hospital care at the right time does not seem to have percolated down.

“How efficient and effective is the home care in the State? The State has documented detailed guidelines on how patients on home care should be followed up diligently by the health system and how their oxygen saturation levels should be checked daily by someone from the nearest PHC. But what is happening in the field is quite different. If it is the case of doctors that patients are turning up late in hospitals and taking a turn for the worse, it naturally means that the health system has been less than perfect in monitoring home-care patients,” a senior Health official points out.

He says if strict home isolation and daily monitoring of positive persons cannot be implemented properly, deaths can go up.

“There is nothing different about the second wave. Even the role of immune escape mutant virus variants in the second wave or its clinical relevance remains largely speculative now because there is no field data to establish this. The real fear is whether we can battle the second wave as efficiently as we did the first because it is a fatigued health system,” he says.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 4:59:20 AM |

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