India's second wave of Covid-19 'less severe', no change in death rate: ICMR DG
Indian Council of Medical Research chief Dr Balram Bhargava said on Monday India's second wave of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is less severe than the previous one in as far as fatalities are concerned.
Establishing the contrast, the ICMR director general said that the only difference is shortness of breath which is higher among the patients this time as a higher requirement of oxygen was found in this wave.
"Very clearly, we find that the symptoms are much less. As I mentioned that the symptoms of joint ache, fatigue, muscle ache, loss of smell, or sore throat are much less compared to the first wave. However, shortness of breath is higher in this wave," Dr Bhargava said, reported news agency ANI.
However, the ICMR DG said there is no difference seen in the rate of fatalities between the first and the second wave.
Pointing out at major loopholes in India's fight against the viral contagion, Dr Bhargava said, "We have had a tremendous amount of laxity and Covid-19 inappropriate behaviour was seen."
It is 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, the ICMR chief said.
He also stressed that the RT-PCR is a gold standard test that measures two or more genes in the body, and there is no chance of missing the detection of a Covid-19 mutant through the test.
"I would like to emphasise that the RT-PCR test that we are utilising, they measure two or more genes and they never miss a test... We have always used two or more genes for testing and therefore missing is absolutely impossible... It can find any kind of mutant because it measures two or more genes at different sites," he told ANI.
A common aspect in both waves has been the age group that has been infected, he pointed out and said, "In both the waves, 70% of infected patients are above 40 years."
The second wave of coronavirus has overwhelmed the health infrastructure in the country as India continues to report cases above two lakhs for five straight days.
India's Covid-19 tally crossed the 1.5-crore mark with around 25 lakh cases being added in just 15 days, while active cases surpassed the 19-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday.