By Ashish Srivastava (IANS) The Centre-run Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research in Chandigarh has cautioned that the severity of Covid-19 may be returning since the hospital has admitted almost double the number of such cases in the last ten days.
The premiere institute said that the number of infected patients, that was consistently diminishing since and had been stable for over a month, is now seeing a surge. While speaking to IANS, Prof. (Dr.) Jagat Ram, director, PGIMER, said the surge reflects the situation on the ground which suggests that the severity in Covid cases is creeping back in the northern states.
“We have seen close to 100 per cent increase in hospitalisations of the patients coming from Chandigarh and surrounding northern states such as Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The caseload from these areas, which was diminishing for quite a sometime, has started to resurface. However, the alarming part is that these cases have come in a situation which could not be managed at home. Their disease condition is severe in nature,” he informed.
The trend has reversed recently in the institute with numbers again rising on a daily basis. Over a week, the number of patents rose from 30 to 57, making it a close to 100 per cent increase in Covid-19 positivity here. Worryingly, all the cases admitted were in a serious condition.
Exploring the plausible reasons behind the surge, he said that the role of undetected or recently reported Indian strains of Covid-19 should not be neglected in the scenario of mounting cases here, which he believes is highly transmissible with increased virulence. “Though yet not known, these strains assume to be fast-spreading and would result in higher mortality and this rise in numbers could convert into a second wave, which we must prevent with collective efforts,” Ram added.
Besides, he also said the lax attitude of the people towards Covid appropriate behaviour is riding the stride. The relaxed attitude of people towards hygiene, social distancing and masking is definitely a reason behind the surge. Covid was not over, yet they perceived it as its end,” he explained.
Ram said that it is crucial to control the situation so that it does not turn into another wave. “Focus should be on the maximum number of tests, tracking the contacts, containment measures and strict adherence to Covid protocols,” he suggested.
Ram also added that genome sequencing of the positive samples should be done in greater numbers to find out if any mutation is causing rise in cases.
Like several states, the twin capital of Punjab and Haryana too has been witnessing a surge in the Covid-19 cases. There has been an increase of 66 per cent in the active case in the last 15 days as Chandigarh logged 168 active cases on February 9 which rose to 279 on Thursday. The daily reported cases also soared from 14 to 49 in the same duration.
Dr. K.K. Talwar, health advisor to the Punjab government also said that mutation in the virus could be a probable reason behind the sudden spike in cases. “The trend definitely raises a suspicion about mutation playing a role in the rise, however, nothing concrete could be inferred without a confirmed data,” he added.
Talwar said that samples collected across the state have been sent to CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi for sequencing and the results are awaited.