BENGALURU: As the Covid-19 lockdown has been relaxed a little, two of the top doctors from Bengaluru — Dr Sudarshan Ballal, Chairman, Manipal Hospitals, and Dr Vivek Jawali, Chairman, Fortis — answer some of the most relevant questions related to the pandemic.
Social media is full of autopsy reports suggesting thrombosis as a cause of death. Should treatment protocol change from ventilators etc?
Dr Ballal: There is a very interesting finding in the autopsy reports of Covid patients and many of them have had thrombosis or clotting of the blood vessels. This is related to a cytokine storm or the body’s extreme immune response to this virus. Treatment protocols have been modified focusing more on anti-inflammatory and sometimes anti-coagulants, rather than just the use of ventilators. But it is still a little too early for us to be sure as to what the best protocol would be.
Dr Jawali: No concrete evidence to use anticoagulants yet. Most hospitals are functioning at 10-20 per cent capacity. What is happening to patients requiring intensive management like myocardial infractions, cardiac surgery, dialysis, etc.?
Dr Ballal: This must be the only pandemic where hospital facilities are being underutilised, though the pandemic rages on. Fortunately, we have not seen too many sick Covid patients and there is a big decrease in other sick patients getting into hospitals because of travel restrictions. Dr Jawali: 30% of hospital space, on an average, is occupied by emergency and semi-emergency patients.
Colour zoning puts Bengaluru city under red, though there are one crore plus people here. Do we need microzoning?
Dr Ballal: Colour zones are scientific and the system would make efforts to convert red zones to yellow and yellow to green. I think the containment strategies are a good exercise and district- wise zoning is good. Technically, it may be difficult to further zone the country. However, there are hotspots where there are extreme lockdowns. I believe zoning is an appropriate measure. Dr Jawali: Yes.
Some suggest that those over 55 years of age and those with comorbidities should be locked down compulsorily... Dr Ballal: It is good to keep them safe even after the lockdown.
Dr Jawali: It is better for those over 60 years of age with comorbities to stay at home. Then, of course, full precautions have to be taken. What is the way forward?
Dr Ballal: Even after the lockdown, many of these hygienic measures, like washing hands, need to be continued to prevent not only Covid, but similar respiratory illnesses. We should continue to work from home whenever possible not only to fight the disease but to save the planet. Dr Jawali: Let the expert bodies decide. This is a war and war is a fluid situation where things can suddenly change. In such a situation, it’s important to obey and respect the command hierarchy.