Hyderabad: A good two months into the coronavirus lockdown, top state government officials have said the purpose of the lockdown was neither to control the spread of Covid-19 nor eliminate it. Instead, the lockdown was “only” an “opportunity for people to get educated about the disease.”
The officials made it clear that there will be a surge of Covid-19 now. Doctors had more disturbing news. While 80 per cent of patients “will not show any symptoms,” they are likely to develop serious health complications a few years from now, doctors said.
“The virus can have some lasting impacts on the lungs. Some long-term impacts are likely (for the infected asymptomatic people),” Director of Medical Education Dr Ramesh Reddy said.
Dr Reddy and Director, Health Services, Dr G. Srinivas Rao, who addressed a press conference on Saturday, placed the responsibility for the spread of the disease on the people.
Among the reasons for the increasing cases and the upcoming surge were people not following basic guidelines that include a ‘mask-on’ policy, and not maintaining a minimum of six feet distance from each other while in public places, they said.
The two senior officials made it clear that it was the responsibility of the people to keep themselves safe by adhering to the safety guidelines and following personal hygiene.
Stating “we have to live with the virus,” Dr Rao said it was not possible to keep people in discomfort with a continuous lockdown. Dr Rao cited examples of how individuals ended up infecting whole families and in some cases the entire neighbourhood by flouting social distance norms.
“In some GHMC areas, people coming out in large numbers and not taking care. In one case of ‘extensive local transmission’, two persons in Suryapet infected 82 others. In Borabanda in the city, it was a 22-year-old who went to his grandmother’s house in Pahadi Shareef who ended up infecting people from 14 families. In Shadnagar, one 23-year-old resulted in 10 families getting infected by Coronavirus,” he said.
While Dr Rao said surveillance of Covid-19 patients was continuing and all their contacts are being monitored regularly, Dr Reddy called “the increase in cases in the case of an infectious disease is a natural phenomenon.”
He said: “There will be a surge and we are prepared for it. People do not have to fear as 80 per cent of those infected will not show symptoms. Only about 5 per cent of all positive cases will need serious hospitalisation and some may require simple symptomatic treatment. In about 20 per cent of all cases, what is required is supplementary oxygen therapy. We have increased the oxygen lines in Gandhi Hospital to 1,500, there are another 700 to 800 at the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences.”
Dr Reddy said people need not fear about the number of deaths from Covid-19.
“Many had comorbidities. Comorbidity deaths in a pandemic are normal. There is no need for fear,” the Director for Medical Education said.
The ICMR, after studying disease progression across many countries, has now said that even positive patients if asymptomatic can be allowed to stay at home as long as they have the facilities to remain in strict isolation, he added.
Director of Medical Education Dr Ramesh Reddy said more than adequate infrastructure was in place to treat Coronavirus patients in government hospitals and if the need arises, private medical colleges and hospitals were ready. Equipment such as ventilators is available.
Dr Srinivas Rao, who appeared to bristle as some reporters asked repeatedly about the number of tests performed in the state so far, said the required tests were being done. When a reporter insisted on the number, he said “30,000 tests have been done so far.”...