NEW DELHI: AIIMS, Delhi, director Randeep Guleria on Monday warned mild COVID-19 patients against rushing for a chest CT scan, saying that it does more harm than good for people with no significant chest infection.
CT scans, he said, expose a person to radiation equivalent to 300-400 X-rays and raises the risk of cancer later in life, especially in younger people.
Guleria, at a briefing by the Union health ministry on the COVID-19 status in the country, also cautioned against the use of routine biomarker blood tests for people with mild symptoms and use of steroids, when not required, as they suppress immune response and may aggravate the disease’s course in many people.
Ministry officials meanwhile pointed out that some states including Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Punjab are showing early signs of plateauing or decline in daily new cases, but these are very early signals to analyse anything.
"Some other states, however, are showing increasing trends in COVID cases and they should take the required precautionary measures,” said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the ministry. The states showing rising daily infections include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur and Meghalaya among others.
The overall cumulative fatality of the country is around 1.10 %, the health ministry highlighted and said that 12 states have over 1 lakh active COVID cases, seven states have 50,000 to 1 lakh cases, while 17 states have less than 50,000 active infections.
As per the details shared, 12 states have started Phase 3 vaccines, and Agarwal said that nearly 2 lakh people aged between 18-44 years have been vaccinated in the country since the vaccination for this age group started on Saturday.
Speaking on the supply of oxygen to treat critical COVID-19 patients in the country, Agarwal said that oxygen plants in industries like steel plants, refineries with petrochemical units, power plants which produce gaseous oxygen are being tapped for medical use.
“Industrial units which produce gaseous oxygen of requisite purity closer to cities are being identified and temporary COVID-19 care centres with oxygenated beds are proposed to be established near that source,” he said.
“A pilot for five such facilities has already been initiated. Nearly 10,000 oxygenated beds can be made available through this initiative. State governments are being encouraged to set up more such facilities,” the official added.
It was also announced that the Union government is exploring the feasibility of converting existing nitrogen plants to produce oxygen. Fourteen such plants have been identified for converting their PSA nitrogen plants to produce oxygen, according to Piyush Goyal, additional secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs.