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As K'taka stares at Covid peak period, health authorities gear up for the worst

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<br>State Health Minister K. Sudhakar has said that the IIT Kanpur team, which has given an accurate report on the last three Covid waves, has predicted a spike in the number of Covid cases in the state from the third week of June. The report says the peak will last till October.

The Health department is observing the situation closely and making preparations. The Covid variant which is surfacing these days is not fierce and there is no need for the people to panic, the minister said.

However, the authorities fear that as the caseload sees a spike, there might be a concerning situation though the variant is not showing any fierce hospitalisation symptoms in patients so far.

Dr. K.V. Srinivasa, Associate Professor of Medicine and consulting physician, talking to Ajit Weekly News explained that in the current scenario, the number of cases is high. There are no severe symptoms found and the cases requiring hospitalisation are also less.

"In case of an increase in caseload like the second wave, the situation might turn serious. As there is an increase in the number of Covid cases, naturally the number of cases with severe symptoms might see a spike. If one patient in 100, 2 patients per 1,000 patients develop severe symptoms, then there will be a situation," he explained.

Dr. Srinivasa further explained that presently the situation is under control. Many people are approaching with upper respiratory problems. But, typical Covid symptoms are not shown. All are not advised to get Covid test done. "Even if we suggest Covid tests, patients are asking us to start the treatment confident of getting better at home isolation. Recovery is also more, Dr Srinivasa says.

Dr. Pruthu Narendra Dhekane, Consultant Infectious Diseases, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru says, "We have faced three big waves right now, and the fourth wave hopefully should not be as severe as the earlier one. This is a statistical phenomenon which is seen in most of the propagated epidemics and there may be variations depending upon various factors, but in the best-case scenario we hope it follows the standard pattern."

It is difficult to say what are the exact causative factors for it, but overall looking at the bigger picture over the last three years Covid has been a pandemic following a propagated epidemic pattern, he says.

He explains that the sub-variants or variants are bound to come as every virus like every other living being evolves in order to survive. At present whatever newer sub-variants may be circulating haven’t been declared as "variants of concern" by WHO.

So there is not too much need as of now to run behind finding the exact typing of the virus variant, as treatment, isolation and prevention still stand the same, he says.

Explaining about symptoms Dr. Pruthu Narendra Dhekane says, "It is difficult to differentiate between common flu and Covid, but overall whatever minor differences we have seen in the previous waves those are still applicable during this spike as well.

Mainly — Loss of smell, loss of taste, predominant and long-standing throat related symptoms rather than rhinitis. Rare symptoms being rashes, joint pains, and systemic symptoms," he says.

Talking about the casual attitude of people towards vaccination, he says, vaccines have definitely shown good efficiency in reducing severity of Covid disease and also its transmission, so more the number of people get vaccinated fully (all 3 doses as of now) have a lesser chance of developing severe infection and spreading it as well.

Precaution dose acceptance has become low because I feel "out of sight out of mind" has been the tendency of most of the people, he underlines.

Despite a decline in cases in the last 3-4 months doctors and the government have been encouraging people to finish their course of vaccines and follow social precautions. But all of this has gone for a toss, hardly anyone is wearing a mask or wearing it properly, people for whatever reason aren’t finishing the vaccination course and no one is ready to test even if symptomatic. All these factors have definitely contributed if not being the sole or major responsible factor for the increase in cases, Dr. Pruthu states.

K.V.S. Seshasai, CEO, Pre-K Division, Lighthouse Learning EuroKids, says he had got a Covid Infection Management Team that monitors a rigorous 22 point checklist (screening, ventilated classrooms, fully-vaccinated staff etc.) at all its 150+ centres in Karnataka and 1,200+ centres across the country to ensure kids are safe.

"We have put in place all safety protocols derived from the state and national government guidelines, the WHO, and UNICEF safe school resumption guidelines to safeguard all of our students, teachers, and administration. Our safety team certifies each of our franchise partners on all critical safety procedures accompanied by photographic evidence. Health and safety officers will be conducting training on the New Normal for the staff before each pre-school opens and subsequently at regular intervals," he says.

"We’ve partnered with Bureau Veritas (BVQI), HiCare, and Diversey, the world’s leading hygiene, safety, and security firms, to ensure that all our protocols are comprehensive," K.V.S. Seshasai explains.

Karnataka reported 750 fresh Covid cases in the last 24 hours. The positivity rate has gone up to 3.06 per cent. Weekly total positive rate has soared to 2.84 per cent. The authorities have conducted 24,469 Covid tests in the last 24 hours. There are 4,825 active cases in the state.

As the state has entered election year, heavy political activity is being seen. The state is also going through a social unrest like situation triggering mass protests and agitations across the state. Ruling BJP and Opposition Congress have started a political blame game over the spread of Covid due to mass agitations and congregations. Health department officials say that they are getting the infrastructure ready to handle any situation.

–Ajit Weekly News<br>mka/dpb


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