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‘Virus has not lost its sting’: Covid-induced pneumonia cases surge by 30% in Kashmir

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Srinagar: Last week, a couple in their early 40s reported to Chest Diseases Hospital, Srinagar, thinking they have caught a common cold. However, it turned out to be bi-lateral pneumonia which required immediate oxygen therapy.

“They had symptoms of cough, cold, and breathlessness. The X-ray showed bi-lateral infiltrations. Their condition is stable now. However, the rapid deterioration of lungs in select few young and mostly elderly patients is proof that the virus has not lost its sting completely even after one year of pandemic,” Dr. Naved Nazir Shah, Head Chest Diseases Hospital told The Kashmir Monitor.

A similar prognosis was flagged recently at SMHS Hospital, Srinagar where a female in her early 40s was admitted for bilateral pneumonia. “She already had an underlying lung disorder, and pneumonia further worsened her condition,” the doctor examining her said.

Pneumonia is the filling up of lungs with fluid, which is normally filled with air. Pneumonia may be the result of infection (bacterial, viral, or fungal) or other diseases like toxic gas inhalation, etc. Pneumonia is easily diagnosed by a chest X-ray or CT scan. Covid affects the lungs and sometimes it causes pneumonia too. It takes a longer time to heal, and the immune system of the patient plays a strong role in the recovery process.

Last year, when the first wave of Covid-19 was reported, an alarming level of respiratory illness including bi-lateral pneumonia cases came to the fore in Kashmir. As Kashmiris navigate through the second wave, it has been concluded that the intensity of such cases has not died down altogether.

In SMHS Hospital Srinagar, there is a 30 percent increase in cases of Covid-induced pneumonia for the last one month. “There was a time when the patient inflow had reduced to 5-6 patients on an average per day. Currently, we are admitting 10-12 such patients,” a doctor in-charge of Covid-designated ward said.

The doctor said, though the situation is under control, it has a strong potential of possible explosion. “If the precautions are not taken, things can get worse,” he said.

The situation is similar in Chest Diseases Hospital, where the patients mostly with high oxygen requirement are referred. Official figures reveal that hospital admissions have increased by 25-30 percent.

“There is a slight increase in the patient inflow for the last one month. Earlier, we used to receive 4 patients on an average per day. Now the number has gone up to 7 patients. The age group mostly reported is above 50,” Medical Superintendent Chest Diseases Hospital, Srinagar Dr. Salim Tak said.

On the other side, a senior official at SKIMS, Soura said the hospital has noticed a 5 percent increase in positivity rate. “However, we have not seen a surge as far as admissions are concerned,” he said.