Doctors say it’s important for patients who are under home isolation to keep in touch with a physician during isolation — either through teleconsultation or periodic visit. “Low levels of oxygen saturation, persistent cough, breathlessness and feeling very weak should be treated as warning signs,” Dr Sumit Ray, head of department of critical care at Holy Family Hospital, said.
Dr Suresh Kumar, medical director of Lok Nayak Hospital, said that delayed admission was one of the main factors behind deterioration in condition and, in some cases, death due to Covid-19. “Some people keep taking medicine on their own. And when the situation goes out of hand, they rush to the hospital. We have seen cases where assistive ventilation was necessitated due to delayed admission,” he added.
According to Dr Rajesh Chawla, senior consultant, pulmonary medicine at Apollo hospital, fever, loss of taste and smell are the most common symptoms of Covid-19. But, he added, they were also seeing many patients coming with diarrhoea. “With experience, we know better how to manage the Covid-19 patients. But even now, we are getting many cases requiring ICU care. This disease shouldn’t be taken lightly,” he said.
Treatment for Covid-19 involves three key components — drugs to reduce the viral load, steroids that can suppress a cytokine storm and drugs to prevent clotting of blood.
A number of drugs used for other illnesses, in addition to Hydroxychloroquine, were tried for treating Covid-19 patients last year because there was no known cure. Convalescent plasma therapy was also used extensively. “As cases increase, there is a significant increase in demand for convalescent plasma again,” said a senior doctor at the Institute of Liver Biliary Sciences that houses a dedicated plasma bank.
Delhi witnessed three peaks in Covid-19 cases last year, in May, August and November, respectively. December onwards, the number of cases started to come down. However, there has been an exponential increase in new cases over the past two weeks. The presence of mutated strain of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, is considered a key factor behind this.