- The Prime Minister is relentlessly insisting on all state governments to not curtail the RT-PCR and RAT testing for fear of witnessing an increased positivity rate for the confirmed infection cases. The treatment protocol prescribed in preempting the infection from spreading further clearly mentions in no uncertain terms that there is no need to reduce the testing. It has been proved beyond doubt ever since the pandemic started devastating the global humankind to ramp up testing for early detection and timely treatment before the patient starts developing complications associated with the virus. The first covid wave in the country was brought under control through extensive testing parameters considerably helping in reducing the burden.
PC: Yogita Chainani
- The second covid wave has seen an unprecedented uptick in the confirmed infection rates and the medical experts, epidemiologists, and scientists with a deep understanding of the virus have vociferously advocated staying one step ahead by leaving no stone unturned in undertaking extensive testing. The second wave noticed in India is distinctively different from the first vis-à-vis hospital admission as the infected patient spending in the care of experts is proving to be more prolonged than earlier times. Also, a patient seeking oxygen support owing to a considerable drop in the saturation levels are tell-tall signs of prolonged stay of a patient who must be stabilized first and administered required medications to ensure the infected lungs are brought under control.
- Of course, the entire universe is witness to how desperately patients were searching for hospital beds, oxygen support, ICUS, life-saving drugs, and ventilators as the government was unable to meet the increasing load on the healthcare infrastructure. One of the proven methods to avoid such situations from playing out, again and again, is to quickly identify people infected by adopting aggressive testing methodologies thereby preventing the virus from spreading far and wide. It is a no-brainer at all to comprehend authorities making every effort to ensure fewer patients seek extremely precocious availability of ICUs and ventilators. Unfortunately, what is being witnessed across the country, more specifically in Karnataka, is a reduction in testing rates of late.
- The Karnataka government though does not admit openly but the statistics available clearly demonstrates that the state has reduced the testing protocols drastically in the hope to bring down the cases from spiraling further. Sadly, the move is fraught with counterproductive ramifications that appear to be lost on the authorities as the positivity rates can never be brought down to an acceptable 5 % level simply because the test results increasingly returning positive is a greater cause for concern. More people returning positive points to community spread of the infection which is bound to further overwhelm the stuttering healthcare platforms.
- If not addressed immediately by increasing the testing manifolds to stop the virus from spreading unchecked, the authorities will encounter a vicious circle of more and more patients seeking hospital admissions after developing potentially fatal complications rendering the whole efforts infructuous. As the PM rightly exhorted, a greater number of infection rates should not worry or scare us but increasing positivity rate and case fatality rates should be our greatest concern. Ramp up testing exponentially without worrying about the returns. Otherwise, the unyielding lockdowns will have to be embraced much against everybody’s interest.