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Silent third wave? Covid tally down but surge in patients with typical symptoms  

Several individuals and families, who are suffering from prolonged symptoms are testing negative despite typical Covid symptoms, leading to fear that the virus is now escaping detection.

Published: 10th October 2021 03:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th October 2021 09:50 AM   |  A+A-

Lemon Tree Hotel converted into a quarantine centre for Covid-19 patients, amid rise in coronavirus cases in Hyderabad

Representational Image. (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR:  A chartered accountant Niharika Das recently experienced a spate of symptoms like high grade fever, dry cough, sore throat and body ache as seen in Covid-19. But she tested negative on RT-PCR.

Her two-year-old toddler also fell sick but tested negative for Covid-19.

The toddler’s condition, however, deteriorated and she was put on nebulisation support at home as per the advice of the family doctor. 

This is not an isolated incident of a patient with Covid like symptoms testing negative on RT-PCR.

Several individuals and families, who are suffering from prolonged symptoms are testing negative despite typical Covid symptoms, leading to fear that the virus is now escaping detection in standard tests.

Though the Covid cases have come down to around 500 cases a day across the State, there is a surge in people seeking treatment for Covid-like symptoms, leaving hospitals stressed.

“At least 10 to 15 per cent (pc) of patients visiting our hospital are having flu symptoms. Most of them are Covid negative, but having symptoms like fever and cough for a prolonged period which was never seen before. They may be missing Covid or suffering from influenza. So far, 22 patients have been detected with influenza virus and around 10 with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV),” said internal medicine specialist Dr Niroj Mishra. 

Even as health authorities sought to play down the surge in the number of patients with Covid-like symptoms citing seasonal flu, health experts warned people to remain very cautious and self isolated as this may be a ‘silent third wave’.

The public health authorities in the UK have also advised people in the South of England to self-isolate if they have Covid-19 symptoms even if they have tested negative.

The direction came after several patients in three cities tested negative on RT-PCR test though rapid lateral flow test had shown positive result leaving health officials confused.

“Even if RT-PCR comes negative despite you having all Covid symptoms, you must self-isolate. There is no harm in remaining in isolation. It would prevent infection within the family. The PCR test is 70 pc sensitive for Delta virus, meaning it would miss 30 pc cases. Besides, there is also the possibility of mutations of other existing viruses, which need to be studied,” leading microbiologist and former ICMR member Dr Tribhuban Mohan Mohapatra said.

Health experts have raised concern as people may be unwittingly spreading Covid-19 because of the testing confusion.

Director of Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), a part of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG), Dr Ajay Parida said though no new strain has been detected in the country in the recent past, the cases of people with symptoms testing negative is rising.

“This may be normal flu or influenza, but prolonged symptoms are leaving us worried. We are planning to go for sequencing of Covid negative samples to ascertain whether any new strain is escaping the RT-PCR test,” he stated.

State to review Covid cases daily during festival months, winter

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha government has decided to review the district wise Covid cases daily during the festive season and winter.

After a virtual meeting of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with the Health department on Saturday, Director of Health Services Dr Bijay Mahapatra said mapping of weekly test positivity rate and daily cases will be conducted till the end of year even if the number of cases are low.

As per the direction of the Centre, he said, there will be strict surveillance on the SARI and ILI cases and the testing target will be maintained for the next three months.

“The new cases may be low in the rest of the State but the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack are still a challenge. There is a strong possibility that the rate of infection will go up if Covid protocol is not enforced strictly,” Dr Mohapatra said.

The State registered 526 new cases and four fatalities in last 24 hours. The cases included 68 children and adolescents below 18 years.



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