Experts Call For Caution, Calm As Daily Coronavirus Cases Rise

KO File Photo By Abid Bhat

Srinagar- With a substantial rise in Covid-19 cases prompting the Jammu and Kashmir administration to reintroduce the rule of face masks in public places in many districts, some experts feel that symptoms of the new variant of Covid shouldn’t be a cause for panic.

They also pointed out the non-adherence of Covid-appropriate behavior (CAB) and people being unenthusiastic about getting the booster dose, which possibly has increased the pool of population susceptible to the infection.

Speaking to Kashmir Observer, Professor and HoD Community Medicine, SPM, GMC Srinagar, Dr S. Muhammad Salim Khan said that symptoms of the new variant of covid are mild.

“As long as there isn’t an increase in severity of the new variant and the hospitalization rate and death numbers are low, there’s nothing to panic about,” Dr. Salim noted, adding that the morbidity and mortality rate is very low.

However, the prominent doctor quickly added that the number of positive cases may be higher than what we’re seeing as people are not adhering to Covid-Appropriate Behavior.

“People are ignoring covid symptoms, testing and isolation by finding similarities between covid and flu symptoms. The important thing is that most of the people who are getting infected these days are immunized and have a common cold and a mild influenza-like illness but they’ve to isolate themselves to contain spread of virus.This time covid may be mild in nature but that doesn’t mean it’s nothing to sneeze at. Its transmissibility is higher and people should not lower their guard. There is no need to panic, but one must remember that Covid is very much around us,” The expert observed.

531 people tested positive for the virus on Friday with no fresh fatality reported from the Union Territory. Of the new cases, officials said, 243 were registered in Kashmir Valley and 288 from Jammu division, thus taking the number of people infected since the onset of the pandemic in J&K to 458987.

“There’s nothing to panic about as the rise in the number of cases is not a cause of worry at the moment. Rather, our focus should shift from case-counting to mortality rate and the hospitalization rate which as of now is low,” Dr. Nisarul Hassan, president Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) told Kashmir Observer.

Dr. Hassan further added that In the earlier waves, any number of positive cases were culminating into severe outcomes, both in terms of hospitalization and deaths.

“But now, we are in a different phase of Covid-19. With the widespread immunization, in the form of vaccination and natural infections, the new cases are not winding up into hospitals or deaths. It’s just a mild infection, so there’s nothing to panic about. If we talk about our region, the present variant of covid is as good as any other respiratory virus like influenza virus. The rise and fall of cases won’t determine the severity of the virus,” said Dr.Hassan, adding that vaccines and booster doses should not be ignored.

Meanwhile, with a steady rise in covid cases in J&K, the department of health has also chalked out a strategy to meet any possible challenge in the coming days.

“We don’t have to worry about the rising cases as covid in Kashmir is already in its endemic phase. Only the hospitalization rate and death rate will determine the viciousness of the infection. There are only a handful of cases admitted in hospitals, that too, with very mild symptoms. So, let’s not trigger fear-psychosis among people,” a practicing physician, Dr. Riyaz Ahmed Daga, told Kashmir Observer.

Dagga further said that during the unprecedented outbreak of the first wave, the numbers of covid positive cases mattered as the hospitalization rate and death rates were high.

“Since then, the two waves have boosted our immunity against the new variants of the virus. That’s why the number of positive cases doesn’t matter. This time, covid is very mild. Death rate and hospitalization rate is also very low. There are no new cases with any respiratory issue,” Dr. Riyaz said, adding that people with morbid diseases are at risk.

J&K Logs 531 New Cases, 162 In Srinagar

Coronavirus cases in Jammu and Kashmir continue to shoot up as 531 more people tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, the highest single-day spike in over five months, even as no fresh fatality was reported in the Union Territory during the last 24 hours.

Of the new cases, Kashmir Valley registered 243 while 288 others were detected in Jammu division, taking the total number of people infected since the outbreak of pandemic in J&K to 458987, officials said Friday.

In the Valley, Srinagar reported the highest 162 new cases of virus, followed by Baramulla with 30, Ganderbal 18, Budgam 12, Pulwama 10, Kupwara four, Bandipora 3, Kulgam and Anantnag two each.

In the winter capital, Jammu reported a maximum of 152 new cases of Coronavirus, Kathua 55, Udhampur 21, Poonch 16, Kishtwar 15, Rajouri 10, Samba and Doda nine each, and Reasi one.

Also, the officials said that the death toll remained unchanged at 4761in J&K—2336 in Jammu and 2425 in Kashmir, as no fresh fatality was reported during the last 24 hours in the Union Territory.

“Moreover, 197 more COVID-19 patients have recovered and been discharged from various hospitals including 115 from Jammu division and 82 from Kashmir division,” they said.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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