On Monday, the chief of the Indian Council of Medical Research, Dr. Balram Bhargava said that in India, the first wave of Covid-19 was more severe than the second wave of the deadly disease as far as fatalities are concerned. Pointing out the difference, Bhargava said that this time, shortness of breath is higher among the patients and that is why this wave highly requires oxygen.

The ICMR director-general said, “In the second wave, oxygen utilization has been found to be 54.5% versus 41.1% earlier while the requirement of mechanical ventilation is 27% versus 37% before. Ventilator requirement is much less yet the oxygen requirement is higher.”

Bhargava stated that the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases has created panic among people who wanted to get admitted to hospitals and therefore, oxygen requirement shoots up. “But this is limited data from hospital settings & more will have to be looked at,” he added.

He also cleared that they found out that the symptoms are much less such as joint ache, fatigue, muscle ache, loss of smell or sore throat are much less compared to the first wave. But in this wave, shortness of breath is higher. However, the fatality rate is the same as the previous wave, added the ICMR DG.

Dr. Bhargava pointed out Covid-19 inappropriate behavior and the tremendous amount of laxity as the major loopholes in the fight of India against the viral contagion. Although it is also not yet clear if the surge in infection spread and cases is the result of the double mutant found in India or the higher rate of transmissibility, added the ICMR chief.

Stressing over the RT-PCR and terming it as a gold standard test, he said that it measures two or more genes in the body and through the test, the detection of a Covid-19 mutant cannot be missed. Establishing the common aspect in both Covid-19 waves, he talked about the age group as he said that 70% of infected patients are above 40 years in both waves.

For 5 straight days, India continues to witness over 2 lakh cases and the health infrastructure in the country has been overwhelmed due to the second wave. The Covid-19 tally of India crossed the 1.5-crore mark as in just 15 days, at least 25 lakh cases were being added. On Monday, the Union Health Ministry data showed that active cases in the nation have crossed the 19-lakh mark.


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