On Sunday, the National COVID-19 Task force of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released new guidelines for the management of adult patients infected with COVID-19, after the country witnessed a single-day spike in infections.
After a little relief from the Coronavirus, India is again witnessing an increasing number of infections, which peaked on Sunday, reaching over a thousand cases. Alarmed by this, the Ministry has released renewed guidelines targeting efficient handling and management of the disease.
Rising Cases of COVID-19 in India
This release comes amid rising cases of COVID-19, especially in certain parts of India. Merely days ago, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had written to the governments of several states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka to follow the five-fold strategy of testing, tracking, treatment, vaccination, and adherence to covid appropriate behaviour, to flatten the curve in targeted areas reporting a high number of cases.
India has witnessed a welcome fall in COVID-19 cases in the past few months. However, the first week of March saw a steep rise in cases, totalling 2,082. This number rose even higher in the second week of March, reporting 3,264 cases, read the letter by the Union Ministry.
Single-Day Spike of More Than 1,000 COVID-19 Cases
On Sunday, India recorded the highest single-day spike of COVID-19 cases with over 1,000 new infections after 129 days. The total active cases tally has climbed to 6,350, according to the Union Health Ministry Data, with 918 new infections reported on Monday (20.03.2023 at 08:00 AM IST, https://www.mohfw.gov.in/).
Amid these conditions, states like Gujarat and Jharkhand have shown an especially stark rise in cases.In the last 24 hours, four deaths have been reported; two from Rajasthan, and one each from Karnataka and Kerala, pushing the death toll up to 5,30,806. The death rate stands at 1.19%, and the recovery rate is at 98.80%, with the active cases of infections constituting 0.01% of the total reported cases to date (4,46,96,338).
Antibiotics are advised to be avoided in COVID-19 cases, except in certain circumstances
According to the revised COVID-19 guidelines released on Sunday, “Antibiotics should not be used unless and until there is a clinical suspicion of bacterial infection. The possibility of coinfection of COVID-19 with other endemic infections must be considered first. Systemic corticosteroids are not indicated in mild disease.”
The guidelines advise against the use of certain drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 except in certain specific conditions. These include Hydroxychloroquine, Ivermectin, Molnupiravir, Favipiravir, Doxycycline, and Azithromycin.
Additionally, in moderate or severe diseases at high risk of progression, the guidelines advise considering Remdesivir for up to 5 days (200 mg IV on day 1 followed by 100 mg I.V. O.D. for the next 4 days).
COVID-19-appropriate behaviour advised
Maintaining physical distancing, indoor mask usage, proper hand hygiene and Symptomatic management (hydration, antipyretics, antitussive), monitoring temperature and oxygen saturation (by applying a SpO probe to fingers) and staying in contact with the treating physician, have been urged by the official communique for patients showing mild symptoms.
Stress has been laid upon effective treatment of patients showing mild, moderate and severe disease symptoms in order to deal with this sudden increase in daily cases.
It urges adult patients to seek immediate medical attention if they have difficulty in breathing, or if SpO2 levels fall below 93%, or if they experience a high fever/severe cough especially if it lasts for five days or more. It further states that a low threshold is to be kept for those with any of the high-risk features.