Times of India | 2 weeks ago | 31-07-2022 | 03:09 am
Chennai: Tamil Nadu added 1,548 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday — a drop from 1,624 cases on Friday and 1,712 on Thursday. The state discharged 1,964 patients from the Covid-19 registry, and the number of people in the active cases registry dropped to 13,094 compared to 13,519 on Friday and 13,890 on Thursday. The state reported no new deaths and the cumulative toll tally since March 2020 is 38,032.One passenger from Maharashtra tested positive for Covid-19. Chennai added 345 new cases compared to 353 on Friday and 368 on Thursday. The district continued to report the highest number of cases. Chengalpet reported a fall to 158 new cases, followed by 155 in Coimbatore. All other districts had fewer than 100 new cases each. Erode reported 67cases, Salem had 65, Virudhunagar reported 56 and Thiruvallur reported 52.All 38 districts reported new cases. The lowest number of cases were recorded in Perambalur (2), Thirupathur (3) and Ramanathapuram (3) followed by Kallakurichi (5), Nagapattinam (6), Ariyalur (7), Nilgiris (8) and nine each in Karur and Vellore.Of the 13,094 active cases, there were 4,280 in Chennai, 1,308 in Chengalpet and 1,184 in Coimbatore. Every district in the state had more than 15 patients under isolation. There were 590 patients in the hospital including 204 on oxygen beds and 67 of them in ICUs. Of the 129 patients admitted to hospitals in Chennai, 20 were in the ICU and 43 were on oxygen beds.
NAGPUR: The 11 districts in the Vidarbha region together reported 164 new cases while 247 patients recovered in the last 24 hours. No death was reported due to Covid in the last 24 hours. More than 6,000 tests were conducted in the region during the last 24 hours. With 164 of them positive, the test positivity is less than 3.5% in the region. Now, less than 1,300 patients are under treatment. Out of them, 600-odd are in Nagpur district alone. Out of the 1,300 under treatment patients, less than 100 are hospitalized. In Nagpur, 43 patients are hospitalized. Only 12 are hospitalized in Akola. Total 1,773 tests were conducted in Nagpur district. Out of them, 1277 were conducted in the city and 496 in rural part. Out of them, 41 tested positive in the city and 40 in rural. Total 164 patients recovered in a day. Now, 609 patients are under treatment in the district. Out of them, 43 are in the hospitals. City now has 365 patients under treatment and rural has more than 250. The change in statistics indicate that cases are coming down in city and increasing slowly in district.
PUNE: Amid the increase in Covid-19 cases nationwide, Dr NK Arora, chairperson of the Covid Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), said on Saturday that besides positivity, states should also closely track hospitalisation and mortality data. In most states, positivity rates are high due to low testing and high circulation of the virus, Dr Arora told TOI. "The way forward is tracking the actual severity of the infection. There are around 10-12 Omicron sub-lineages circulating and many of the current strains are all 20-30% more infectious than the original Omicron variant. But hospitalisation and deaths are still low. The new variants of Omicron with higher transmission rates are causing a spike in cases and an increase in positivity rates," he added. Omicron subvariants include BA.4, BA.5, BA.2.75 and BA.2.38. Every week, INSACOG - the surveillance network of labs - reviews data on circulating viruses and clinical outcomes, including hospitalisation and deaths. Dr Arora said there has been no increase in hospitalisation rates anywhere in the country. "We have been regularly seeing new Omicron sub-lineages in the country for the last eight months but fortunately, none of these variants have led to an increased severity of cases," he said. He also urged people to follow all precautions, especially if a variant emerges with the potential to cause severe disease. Some regions and states, including West Bengal and Delhi, have kept up the mask rule. "And this needs to be welcomed," Dr Arora said, adding that it will take a few more months of surveillance to know if a virulent variant has emerged or if it's time for more relaxations. Maharashtra's overall weekly positivity rate is at 5% and state officials said hospitalisation rates have been stable, even if 10 districts have positivity rates higher than 10%. Pune, Gondia and Nagpur are some of the districts with positivity rates over 10%. Pune district's positivity rate is currently at 12%, much lower than the 14% it had early in August. But hospitalisation rate in the state is at 6% and only 1.5% of the caseload are serious patients, officials said. On Saturday, the Pune Metropolitan Region recorded 302 Covid cases and one death. Some 403 people were also discharged from care. The region has 139 Covid patients in hospital. Another 1,868 are in home isolation. The state reported 2,040 cases. The overall case tally is now 80,70,258 and toll is at 1,48,168, an official said.
MUMBAI: Draft charges were submitted on Friday in a case allegedly involving assembly speaker Rahul Narvekar and state minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha for assembling with others at BEST Bhavan to protest against a hike in electricity bill during the Covid lockdown in 2020. The charges against the 20 accused were filed under various sections of the IPC, the Epidemic Diseases Act and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. The court is likely to hear arguments on August 26, and will finally decide which charges, if any, are to be framed against the accused.
LUCKNOW: The UP Special Task Force (STF) on Friday arrested Khurshid and Ashraf from Shohratgarh area of Siddharthnagar district. The duo has been named in 12 cases of robbery, dacoity and theft in Thane and one theft case in Madhya Pradesh. The two had fled from the Maharashtra police custody in 2021. They had earlier been arrested for a dacoity at a jewellery store in Thane and were sent to jail where they tested positive for Covid in 2021 following which they were hospitalized. They, however, fled from the hospital and were absconding since then. Additional superintendent of police, STF, Vishal Vikram Singh said that during interrogation Khurshid disclosed that they used to commit docoities along with their aides. Khurshid further stated that in the last week of November when they were shifted from jail to a hospital because of Covid they planned their escape. "Finally one day both Khurshid and Ashraf managed to escape from the 16th floor of the hospital where they were admitted with the help of a downpipe. Thereafter, they drove to Siddhartnagar and started living there," the ASP said. Last month the Thane police tracked the mobile phone of one of the accused in Siddharthnagar and alerted the STF. Bothe the miscreants were planning to escape to Nepal on fake identity when they were arrested by the STF. A car, bearing registration number of Maharashtra and two mobile phones were recovered from them.
Dr. Atul Patel is a director and chief consultant for the Department of Infectious Diseases, Sterling Hospital. He is a visiting assistant professor at the Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of South Florida, Tampa, US. He has a special interest in HIV/TB co-infections. His group is researching on an effective programme to prevent mother-to-child transmission at the ID Clinic, AhmedabadThe past two years were largely uneventful with respect to swine flu and/or seasonal influenza cases and related mortality. We are again witnessing a surge this year. What is driving it?The term, swine flu, is used for the 2009 H1N1 strain, which was a recombinant of influenza viruses in birds, pigs and humans. The strain evolves every year, which is why these subsequent strains are termed under the broad category of seasonal influenza. The surge in seasonal influenza cases in a specific year depends on the general population’s immunity to the specific strain circulating in a specific year. We are seeing swine flu patients and seasonal influenza patients at present as both the viruses are in circulation. If we look at the epidemiology of seasonal influenza, it circulates in the community in tropical countries throughout the year with two big spikes — first in winter and the second in the monsoon. So this is the time when we expect an increase in the number of seasonal influenza cases. This is a major difference compared to temperate countries such as the US or Europe where only one surge is seen in the year that is winter.Right now we can say we are seeing an equal number of Covid-19 and seasonal influenza patients. In fact, the number of seasonal influenza cases is more compared to the last two years. That may be because we are not strictly wearing masks and sanitising hands, something that we did consistently through the two years during Covid-19. These are two important non-pharmaceutical interventions, which reduce the susceptibility to seasonal influenza as well as Covid-19. Furthermore, routine vaccination for seasonal influenza has gone down. It is not being highly recommended in high-risk groups by the government unlike pre Covid-19 years and has now taken a backseat following Covid-19. We can control the number of seasonal influenza patients in the community through vaccination and post-exposure prophylaxis with Oseltamivir (Tamiflu). We should promote an annual shot of the seasonal influenza vaccine in the media also.How does seasonal influenza impact an individual’s morbidity risk?Like Covid-19, those with co-morbidities are at a high risk of disease progression and complication when it comes to seasonal influenza. We are seeing that there is mortality in patients with significant co-morbidities. The sensitivities are almost the same as those for Covid-19 — haemato-oncological problems, malignancy, post-transplant cases, chronic obstructive lung disease, obesity, diabetes and so on.In terms of susceptibility to seasonal influenza, it is more or less equal across all age groups, except in paediatric patients and those aged above 65 years. These two groups are such that even without any co-morbid conditions, they are more prone to disease severity. For a majority of youngsters, most of whom are immuno-competent, seasonal influenza is a self-limiting disease. Symptoms include high grade fever, throat pain, headache, body pain, runny nose, which last for five to seven days or so. Then they report spontaneous and uneventful recovery. Taking fever-reducers such as Paracetamol work for healthy immuno-competent individuals but for paediatric and aged people, and those with comorbidities, we generally prescribe the antiviral drug Tamiflu, a very effective agent for influenza.With fever being the first symptom and the monsoon known for the resurgence of viral infections, seasonal influenza, vector-borne diseases, and now Covid-19, what should one look out for?With most viral infections, including dengue fever, the first episode is usually self-limiting in immuno-competent people. Such individuals report an uneventful recovery without much medical intervention. But those in high risk and co-morbid groups, should not ignore their fever, visit their doctor, get tested and secure a definite diagnosis.They should get a diagnostic evaluation done on the first day of the onset of symptoms rather than waiting for a few days as by then the disease can progress and complications may crop up. For healthy individuals who do not have many symptoms, except for fever and body pain, there is not much cause for worry. Their assessment and evaluation should be symptom-driven.With Covid-19 and seasonal influenza circulating in the population, how do we go about the diagnosis, given that most individuals just opt for a Covid-19 test? Surely a negative Covid-19 test doesn’t rule out an individual’s probability of seasonal influenza instead?We usually recommend the RT-PCR for both COVID-19 and seasonal influenza. In clinical practice, we have multiplex PCR. This assay includes a target panel of all the common viruses producing respiratory symptoms. So a single multiplex PCR can confirm whether it’s influenza A, influenza B, parainfluenza, COVID19, swine flu or other respiratory viruses. But it is very expensive, costing around Rs 11,500 or so, as it checks multiple pathogens. The results come within two-and-a-half hours and are highly reliable.How is a confirmed diagnosis of the type of seasonal influenza one is afflicted with significant for health management?Knowing the final and confirmed diagnosis is very important, as for the three viruses — influenza A, B and swine flu — Tamiflu is highly effective. Besides, most of these patients will respond to the antiviral drug within 48 hours of taking it. This is also one of the diagnostic traits that can be an indicator. So basically if someone improves markedly after taking Tamiflu, it can be said that he/she has been affected by one of the three viruses. That apart, a PCR test can tell you which kind it is because symptoms are more or less the same for seasonal influenza, swine flu or influenza B virus. From a clinical examination perspective, one can say that an individual has seasonal influenza but for the specific virus, only a PCR test can give a final and confirmed diagnosis.