The rapid spike in coronavirus cases has led our government to extend the nationwide lockdown, which was supposed to originally end on April 14. As of now, the total number of positive cases in India stands at 11,510 and 394 people have succumbed to the fatal virus. This had led to collective anxiety among people as well as doctors, who are struggling to treat COVID-19 complications.
Why doctors are having a hard time treating patients is because it is a new virus, and no cure or drug can treat it. Doctors in Maharashtra have narrowed down why the virus is so fatal--it is because patients deteriorate quickly and collapse.
The medical term for the condition is called 'Happy Hypoxia', which is a state where the body’s oxygen concentration gets lower (to about 60%) in a patient infected with COVID-19 virus but not so low that patients feel uncomfortable. They can behave normally till they deteriorate rapidly and collapse. The rapid deterioration and collapse have been one of the reasons COVID-19 has emerged as a major killer, feel medical experts.
Since doctors in Maharashtra are attending to over 2,000 patients and have already witnessed 160 deaths, they have decided to maintain a dossier on the manifestations and attacks of the virus on their patients. By now, it is a well-known fact that 85% to 90% of corona patients have mild to non-existent symptoms (fever, cough and breathlessness).
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Therefore, the dossier is an effort to list all the novel symptoms. If the virus displays only mild symptoms in 85-90% patients, it’s tricky in the rest. The change in their health parameters could be extremely rapid, and the patients can deteriorate in no time.
"Several cases have been seen in Pune where the patient is laughing and talking just before deteriorating and dying in in the next few hours,” said Dr Subhash Salunkhe, technical advisor to the Maharashtra state chief secretary.
"The fact is that a stable patient with oxygen saturation of more than 90% desaturates rapidly and collapses,” said another state official.
Doctors have noted that COVID-19 cases behave differently than routine ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) patients who need ventilator support. ARDS or respiratory failure can be caused by many bacteria or viruses, while here it is caused by just one--and these patients need ventilator support.
Besides these findings, doctors have also found issues like weakened heart and kidney function among this group. The document noted that an autopsy of six patients showed inflamed heart tissues.
With such erratic and serious complications, a vaccine is our best bet to survive this outbreak, which medical experts around the world are working round the clock to deliver. Until then, we urge you to practice social distancing in order to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
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