Kashmir faces the second Covid-19 wave and like any other place it looks nasty here, says Prof Javaid Malik, head of the Chest Disease department at SKIMS, Bemina.
“I would request and urge the people to come forward for vaccination at their turn. It certainly reduces the chances of severe illness, ICU admission, and death in the event of Covid infection,” he says.
“We are at the beginning of the second wave and what we are observing is that some younger individuals are also getting severe disease including pneumonia compared to first Covid wave. That is why the younger population in the age group of 18 to 45 should come forward for vaccination. Their vaccination will save them and also the elderly and co-morbid population,” he says. He says the infectivity of the virus in the second wave is also higher, indicating a strong possibility of a mutant virus in the region.
Over the past seven days, nearly 300 Covid deaths and over 17,000 cases have been reported in Jammu and Kashmir, with the capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar most affected. On Friday, Jammu and Kashmir reported 5443 new Covid-19 cases, 1868 from Jammu and 3575 from Kashmir, and 50 deaths -- 29 from Jammu and 21 from Kashmir.
Srinagar and Jammu cities are Covid hotspots due to the high population density in these two cities, says Dr Malik. “It is due to travelers arriving from various parts of the country and abroad, high population density, presence of tuition centers, and overcrowding of public transport vehicles and increased number of attendants in hospitals that Srinagar and Jammu cities are witnessing a surge in Covid-19 positive cases,” he adds.
Warning against polypharmacy and self-medication, he says: “It is unfortunate. Let me reassure you that close to 80 per cent of Covid patients are either asymptomatic or need only symptomatic treatment like paracetamol or a cough suppressant.” He says the rampant use of antibiotics was disturbing in a viral infection, and “particular stress needs to be put on random steroid use. It can be dangerous, delay viral clearance, and should only be used after consultation with your doctor.”
Urging people to need to adhere to Covid-19 appropriate behavior that includes mask, social distancing, and hand hygiene even after vaccination, he says: “I would also stress on avoiding all gatherings regardless of their nature and well-ventilated rooms to offset airborne transmission of this virus.”
In a pandemic of this magnitude, virtual consultation with a qualified doctor is much safer and advantageous. “Majority of patients share clinical details, CT scans, blood investigations, and oxygen level parameters with me and other doctors on Whatsapp. Virtual consultation helps. In other countries, the governments have come up with internet hospitals to decrease footfalls in the hospitals and this has in a great deal curbed the rise of Covid-19 cases. So virtual consultation should be encouraged,” he concludes.