VELLORE: Lauding the efforts of the Tamil Nadu government in fighting COVID-19, renowned virologist Prof. T Jacob John stressed the need to test all pneumonia cases in the state in order to bring down the fatalities triggered by the infection.
“All COVID-19 related deaths are through pneumonia. That’s why if you test all pneumonia cases, you will understand how widespread COVID-19 is in Tamil Nadu,” he told The New Indian Express on Wednesday.
He added, “Eighty per cent of the people down with SARS-CoV-2 virus have no symptoms, 10 per cent have sore throat, fever and mild pneumonia, and the remaining 10 per cent have clear pneumonia, of whom half are down with severe pneumonia and they are the ones to die.”
Strongly advocating increasing the testing of pneumonia cases, Jacob John explained, “There are many other causes of pneumonia but currently COVID-19 must be factored in while diagnosing pneumonia. So every case must be tested.”
The researcher in virology had a word of praise for the Tamil Nadu government. “The Tamil Nadu government is doing quite well,” he said.
He also suggested that people down with very severe pneumonia, who are likely to die due to complications, be treated with the plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients.
Saying that the ‘peak numbers’ of COVID-19 cases had been deferred due to the early enforcement of the current lockdown in India, the former Head of Department of Virology, CMC, said it can be expected that the numbers will go up in May and June.
“We had the lockdown fairly early, so our peak numbers may be smaller and delayed to May or June. We can expect a large number of cases in May and June everywhere including Tamil Nadu,” he said.