'In this wave, we have witnessed more cases of breathlessness while in the last wave, symptoms like dry cough, joint pain, headaches were more,' Dr Bhargava explains
He says asymptomatic/mild illness can be managed at home and does not require hospitalization while adding that ventilator requirement in second wave is not high
Amid a massive surge in novel coronavirus cases in the country, there's a lot of concern over the symptoms of Covid-19 and its severity in the second wave of the pandemic.
In view of this, the Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Dr Balram Bhargava explained the difference in the severity of the symptoms saying that Coivd-19 symptoms in this wave are much less than last year.
"If you see the symptoms, severity is very less this time. In this wave, we have witnessed more cases of breathlessness while in the last wave, symptoms like dry cough, joint pain, headaches were more," Dr Bhargava explained, as per news agency ANI.
He also said that RT-PCR test is gold standard of testing. "We measure two genes or more, therefore, there is no chance of missing detection of any mutant," he said over concerns of virus mutant strains and their detection through RT-PCR.
Bhargava also said there is no difference in the percent of death between the first wave and second wave.
He further said that only a marginally high proportion of COVID-19 patients are of younger age and that the average of patients in the first wave was 50 years and in this wave, it is 49 years. He also said that the older population continues to be more vulnerable to be admitted in the hospital in the current wave.
"From zero to 19 years - the difference was 5.8 per cent versus 4.2 per cent, and in 20-40 years, the difference was 25 per cent versus 23 per cent. There is a marginal difference in this. More than 70 per cent were above or equal to 40 years of age. A higher number of asymptomatic individuals got admitted this year, than a higher proportion of patients admitted with breathlessness," he said.
He also said that asymptomatic/mild illness can be managed at home and does not require hospitalization and also added that ventilator requirement in second wave is not high.
"There is no change in the death rate between the first wave and the second wave. Similar trends are being seen across all the states because this is a countrywide data of a national registry data which has been collected of only hospitalised patients, so this is 10,000 hospitalised patients that are being analysed," added Dr Bhargava.
The ICMR chief further opined that there was a tremendous amount of laxity regarding the pandemic and many instances of COVID-inappropriate behaviour was also seen. He also stressed that the RT-PCR test measures two or more genes in the body and there is no chance of missing the detection of a COVID-19 mutant through the test.
"I would like to emphasise that the RT-PCR test that we are utilising, they measure two or more genes and they never miss a test... We have always used two or more genes for testing and therefore missing is absolutely impossible... It can find any kind of mutant because it measures two or more genes at different sites," he told ANI.
Dr Bhargava further said that the rate of transmissibility of the 'double mutant' found in India has not yet been established.
Three main variants from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil have already been found in India.
According to the Health Ministry, India reported 2,73,810 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of positive cases in the country to 1,50,61,919. There are currently 19,29,329 active cases in the country as of Monday.
The death toll reached 1,78,769 with additional 1,619 fatalities.
In the last 24 hours, as many as 1,44,178 people recovered from the virus. With this, the total number of recoveries reached 1,29,53,821 in India.
With inputs from ANI
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