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Double mutant strain highly infectious; stay home: Dr M Saleem Khan

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Patients who develop severity need to consult PHCs for further referral; checking oxygen saturation level pre-requisite to prevent Happy Hypoxia

SRINAGAR, MAY 06: One of the leading preventive medicine experts of J&K, Prof. Dr Mohammad Salim Khan, Head of Department, Community Medicine, Government Medical College Srinagar Thursday urged the people to adopt Covid-appropriate behaviour and stay inside their homes to prevent further spread of the virus.

Dr Khan said that at present more than 4 lakh cases are being reported across the country on a daily basis and 3.5K cases in Kashmir, which is not a good trend.

The statistics make it clear that the cases are increasing with each passing day and the only solution to break the infection chain is to strictly adhere to the Covid-19 SOPs and guidelines and stay home and venture out only in case of absolute necessity, he added.

In comparison to last year, he said more Covid positive cases are being reported this year and the number of severe cases is also increasing manifold due to which the patient rush has increased at the hospitals.

Recalling the Covid situation last year, Dr Khan said there happened to be one case in a family, but today if there is a single case detected in a family the whole family is found to get infected with the virus and now particularly the cases of children contracting the virus too are being reported frequently.

He cautioned that the double -mutant strain can infect even those who have already got coronavirus infection last year. He said that the mutant strain is infecting whole families and even children are getting affected. N440K has been found in Kashmir division which spreads 10 times faster, he said.

With second wave going on and the number of cases increasing each passing day, “we cannot predict its peak nor can we predict when shall the number of cases decrease; the only thing we know this time is that the number of cases may increase manifold in coming days which may also lead to increase in mortality rate,” Dr. Khan said.

He said to combat such a situation, the government has already notified the Covid-19 related SOPs and guidelines and people need to adopt the Covid-appropriate behaviour.

He said last year people cooperated with the government vis-à-vis implementation of lockdown and by adopting Covid-appropriate behavior, but this time there has been relatively less cooperation from them initially, and still there are so many people who are not taking the situation seriously.

Dr. Khan also said that both vaccines available in India — Covishield and Covaxin — are safe and rumours about side-effects like vaccine causing infertility among women are false.

He said that vaccines provide protection to a large extent and people need to take both doses as per the prescribed timelines.

He said that Covaxin also has good efficacy of 81 percent and emphasised that even after getting vaccinated, people don’t have to lower guard and should continue taking precautions like wearing of masks, physical distancing and hand hygiene.

During the current scenario, the people that are reported Covid positive and have mild symptoms, it has been found that many of such cases even after severity stay home and report to the hospital late for treatment, which sometimes results in  death of such patients, the  HoD Community Medicine said.

He said in such a situation Covid positive patients who are in home isolation need to check their oxygen saturation level after every 2 to 3 hours. “If they feel that their saturation level has dipped below 90, they should immediately consult a nearby health centre so that the medical staff available there can make their referral to the hospital after examination,” Dr Khan said.

“This is important because in many of the Covid positive cases, patients develop no symptoms and they hardly feel a dip in saturation level and this is called happy hypoxia”.

Stressing on desisting from visiting hospitals at early stage of Covid, he said since the number of cases are increasing each passing day it is not necessary that every positive patient must come to the hospital  — only those patients need to come to the hospital whose severity has increased and oxygen saturation level has dipped.

“The patients who have tested Covid positive should avail treatment facilities by consultation through helplines publicised by the government” he said and added that they can share their health status with the doctor via phone or through video conferencing and take medications accordingly.

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