The untamed spike in Covid-19 cases in the second wave has stretched the country’s public health system, which is now bursting at the seams due to a manifold increase in hospitalisations. All this is happening due to not following Covid-appropriate behaviour and the embers of the increasing number of pyres being lit reflect an unfortunate viral situation that is spinning out of control.
The dangerous spike is attributed to multiple factors, including improper tracing of people, virus mutations, and public apathy towards following Covid-19 norms. A pulmonologist working for a private hospital, said, “We have noticed that in many cases of hospitalisation, people ignore the first sign of symptoms like fever, cold or loose motions. Most of the cases we admitted have come at least 5-7 days after the initial onset. Fatalities can be reduced, only if people are more cautious and don’t wait for the oxygen levels to drop.”
Experts point out that the state is unable to identify people who are asymptomatic or moving about with low symptoms, let alone the question of isolating them. Hence, hospitalisations have increased.
Speaking to Hello Vizag, President of the Infection Control Academy of India, Dr Ranga Reddy Burri, said: “Hospitalisations increased in the second wave. During the first wave of Covid-19, immediately when we saw cases increase and we went to lockdown and broke the chain. So, there were fewer chances of hospitalisation. During the first wave, the peak was during the unwinding of the lockdown and it was low because it was phase-wise unlock. But now everything is open, which has led to tremendously increasing the caseload. When you have more caseload, there could be proportionately higher hospitalisations. There are deaths, but the overall case fatality rate has considerably reduced”.
Apart from problems related to tracing and people ignoring norms, the evolution of the virus is also to blame for the rise in cases and the virus is changing and transforming itself and is acquiring transmissibility and transferability,” added Dr Ranga Reddy.
Speaking to Hello Vizag, Dr Rakesh Mishra, Director of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), said, “Any variant that spreads and becomes larger in infected people is a matter of concern because this is going to spread more. But at the moment the new variant doesn’t seem to be of any particular clinical problem. But if we keep harbouring a large number of people infected, new mutations will emerge certainly and they may be worse. So, it is really important to stop the spread”. Apart from blaming public apathy, experts are also questioning the government’s attitude towards stopping the spread.