Focus on new Covid cases to curtail deaths: Experts

Predict spike in deaths in April, second wave to follow same trend as first

Published: 03rd April 2021 06:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd April 2021 04:36 PM   |  A+A-

A health worker collects swab samples at CV Raman Hospital on Friday | SHRIRAM BN

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Experts predict that the number of deaths in the state will rise in the next one month. The State government should consider data analysis of cases reported, testing done and deaths since March 1, and plan strategies to reduce mortality rate, they said. “The number of deaths we are seeing now is actually from cases reported about three weeks earlier, around March 1. The State government should understand how the virus behaves, case patterns and hospital admission data to predict deaths in the state,” explained Dr P Giridara Gopal, senior researcher in community medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

According to experts, one has to be patient with the fatality statistics as the number of cases and deaths come with a lag. “Earlier, there was a lag in identification as people had to wait for RT-PCR results and admissions were delayed. Now the lag is reduced by quick RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Tests. More patients are being identified before they get sicker, and can be provided timely care,” Dr Gopal explained.
A senior virologist said that during the first wave, the State government should have learnt that once the number of cases began to rise, hospitalisations started increasing in about 10 days, and two weeks after that began a spike in deaths. The second wave follows a similar trend.

“Even in the second wave, the data is following a corresponding, though more compressed, pattern. New cases and hospitalisations are seen around the same time as test reports are coming in faster,” the virologist said.Dr Gopal said deaths will start showing about 10 days later. “If I was a District Commissioner, I would first try to understand the incidence of epidemiological data. Looking at the last wave, we know that 10 per cent will need hospitalisation and 5 per cent will need ICU care in two weeks of the cases being reported, of 3,000 cases, we know that around 300 will need admission, and roughly 100 will need ICU care. So, have we done this kind of calculation to prevent further mortalities? State governments should act immediately,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Giridhara R Babu, senior epidemiologist and public healthcare expert, argues that Karnataka should start micro-planning at the district level, andconduct random genome sequencing. “They should look at districts where there is a sudden spike in cases, and check for any new variants of the virus. Seal down that district and ensure the virus is contained, and also ramp up vaccination,” he said.

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