Influenza cases surge while Covid cases see slight drop in a day

As compared with Thursday figures, the Covid-19 caseload on Friday recorded a slight drop from 226 to 197 in Maharashtra. Meanwhile, the number of patients diagnosed with influenza further surged to 166 on Friday but without fatalities.

The favourable environment stimuli and widening gaps between night and day have provided a suitable condition for viruses to thrive, said doctors. This has not only pushed up the number of novel coronaviruses but also influenza, which includes H1N1 and H3N2.

“Viruses always fight for supremacy. For two years, SARS-Cov-2 dominated, but now other seasonal viruses which have been in the environment for years are reclaiming their position,” said Dr Pradip Awate, the former state surveillance officer, Maharashtra.

In the last 15 days, the number of active Covid-19 cases has risen more than three times in the state.

On March 4, the state had recorded 274 active cases which surged to 1,029 on March 17. However, doctors pointed out that the strain of Covid-19 is less virulent than the currently circulating influenza virus. “In the current scenario, Covid-19 symptoms barely last 2-3 days and the patient recovers quickly without needing serious treatment. Whereas, H3N2 and H1N1 last longer, for a few weeks, and have higher chances of contracting pneumonia or a secondary bacterial infection,” said Dr Samrat Shah, senior consultant, Internal Medicine at Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital.

Inquiring at city hospitals, The Indian Express found that despite rise in active cases, admission of patients is almost negligent. “We haven’t witnessed a sudden rise in admission or even inquiry about bed availability. As most patients are asymptomatic, they are taking treatment at home,” said Dr Sangeeta Rawat, dean of KEM Hospital.

Issuing a more detailed advisory for people to avoid contracting influenza, the public health department has advised to wash hands frequently with soap and clean water, eat nutritious and healthy foods such as lemon, amla, mosambi, orange, green leafy vegetables in your diet, avoid smoking and get enough sleep and rest and drink plenty of water.

The department also issued instructions while taking care of patients at home. It has advised that patients be kept in a separate room, the patient should preferably avoid coming in touch with family members and should keep a handkerchief over the nose.

Doctors opined that as the Covid-19 pandemic curve has flattened and is in the phase of an endemic, the virus will behave arbitrarily leading to certain rise in numbers. “Covid will turn into a seasonal infection like other influenza. So at certain times of the year, we will witness some spike in cases annually, which is not worrying until a new variant enters,” said Dr Awate.