Thursday, 22 February, 2024

Post-COVID cases likely to be low this time: Medical doctors


By Mahima Devkota, Kathmandu, Feb.3: Health experts have said that post-COVID patients from the Omicron variant are likely to be very low compared to the number of post-COVID cases in the aftermath of the first and second wave, as the severity of Omicron, the dominant variant in the third wave, is less severe.

According to Dr. Niraj Bam, respiratory physician, also Associate Professor at the TU Teaching Hospital (TUTH), the Omicron variant which is dominant in the third wave affects the upper respiratory tract and has symptoms such as fever, body and throat ache, which is less severe. As there is less severity, the hospitalizations from the Omicron variant are also very low, and thus having post-COVID-19 patients following the third wave is likely to be very low as well.

Dr. Bam said, “Following the second wave, post-COVID patients were observed since February and October and some still visit the hospital now because of recurrent issues as many suffered from major health problems and chronic health problems. However, Omicron is less severe and it has severely affected only the elderlies and chronic patients, who have recurrent health issues, leaving other age groups only mildly affected. So, having recurrent issues in the majority of COVID-19 patients of the third wave is less likely.”

He shared that patients of long COVID show symptoms of COVID from the second wave such as fever, common cold, chest pain and tightness, and an unreduced scar on the test. Dr. Bam said most of the patients with such problems are those who were given high-flow oxygen during COVID infections, those who had to be treated in the ICU and ventilator, and those who had a chronic illness.

Currently, five patients are receiving treatment at the hospital, TUTH, for post-COVID illness.

Dr. Sher Bahadur Pun, Chief of the Clinical Research Unit at Sukraraj Hospital in Teku, said, “There are not many post-COVID patients in the third wave in Teku Hospital till this time the way there were post-COVID cases following the first and second wave. However, it is too early to predict whether or not the post-COVID health problems will be seen in the people again after recovering from Omicron. It is because the effect of this Omicron on the body can be seen within a month and a half of recovery.”

Similarly, post COVID-19 patients at the Bir Hospital are less in number in comparison to the first and second wave.

Dr. Prajwol Shrestha, Deputy Director at the Unified COVID Hospital, Bir Hospital, said that the post-OPD ward and the ICU were started after the first and second wave. However, the post-OPD and ICU wards are not started yet for patients of post-COVID in the hospital is very low at present.

Dr. Shrestha, said, “There are very few people who come as post-COVID patients, however, patients of COVID-19 are receiving treatment in the hospital.”

He added that post-COVID patients may come as the number of COVID-19 patients decreases, however, currently, the scenario is different and there are a few post-COVID patients in the hospital now.

Symptoms of post-COVID-19, when to visit a hospital?

Even after recovery from COVID-19, if some health problems persist then it is a post-COVID-19 illness. Symptoms like tiredness, fatigue is normal for post-COVID, so, there is no need to rush to the hospital.

However, if problems such as difficulty in breathing, insomnia, depressive symptoms, shortness of breath after a short walk, extreme tiredness and weakness, sudden rise or fall in blood pressure, and symptoms of black fungus, then, one must consult a doctor.