Coronavirus in India: COVID-19 outbreak could peak mid-May, says Dr Om Shrivastav

Amid times when coronavirus has hit most of the world quite severely, it is important for everyone to have knowledge of what's really happening. Well, to give us more insight, Dr Om Shrivastav, Infectious Disease Expert, Jaslok, Kasturba and Reliance Hospitals Mumbai answers the biggest question and everything you wish to know about Covid19.

Upon asking why there has been more number of cases in Mumbai, Shrivastav said, "The reason is that our testing has been on a large scale. The more you test, the more number of cases will be reported. And since there are travel restrictions, I don't think travel is one of the reasons for more number of cases in Mumbai."

Speaking about peak in coronavirus, he said, "It is difficult to say anything about this. But if you have to put a figure, but the data that has come internationally says May 10-15 will probably see a peak in cases, if it continues to grow rapidly. However, this could be wrong as well. May be it possible that the current situation we are in is a peak period.So it is difficult to tell exactly when we could see a peak."

Speaking about mortality rate in Maharashtra, he says, "Death of patients is not related to their age or comorbidities. In the last three weeks, COVID19 patients who died did not belong to a certain age group, both set of population have succumbed to the virus."

"The average mortality is still lower as compared to other nations. The mortality rate we have is high but not compared to other nations." He suggests that a committee be set up to look into the cause of death of people so far.

He also said that so far there is not evidence of mutation in India but it is important to keep an eye on it.

Shrivastav also addressed the line of treatment during the times when there is no vaccine available in the market yet. While speaking about line of treatment, he says, "Since we do not have a line of treatment there have been various reports from other countries that certain medicines have been effective on patients."

He explains if there are 100 patients, around 90 patients will not face any difficulty and will recover just fine. He adds, out of the remaining 10, five will face some difficulty and will have to be taken to the hospital or ICU. So the percentage of people who will require medical help is very small compared to any other major viral infection and hence the mortality in India is still manageable, he said.

He further says that there couple of treatments available that are potentially good. "For example, Monash University's reports on Ivermectin which could be an option to explore. As far as treatment is concerned, I have used some medicines on the patients which have been quite effective." Well, there are several medicines that will come in the market but if you want to use it, you will need permission from the hospital committee, government and also the ICMR, he says.

There have been talks about hydroxychloroquine being one of the potiential medicine, speaking on this, Shrivastav said that he has used it on his patients in the past and doctors can definitely try it on the patients.

Well, shutting down of hospitals due to healthcare workers being infected with the virus have made headlines recently. This attributes to the shortage of PPE kits and other medical facilities for those who treat the COVID-19 patients.

Addressing the issue of shortage of PPE kits for doctors and other healthcare workers who are treating COVID19 patients, he said that if any doctor or health care worker is not wearing a PPE kit when they are around any COVID19 patients, they are risking their lives by doing this. "It is important to wear a PPE kit at all times," he says.

If there PPE kit is not available in a particular hospital with COVID19 patient, it important that the patient is immediately shifted to the one that has all the facilities for patients and doctors. Hospitals should be prepared before hand, he adds.

So far nearly 12,000 people India have tested positive for the virus out of which 1,343 have recovered and discharged and around 390 people have succumbed to it, according to the data by the Health Ministry.

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