AIIMS Delhi Director Dr Randeep Guleria has said that there is a need to go back to all the strategies that were being followed six-seven months back to bring about a reduction in the number of COVID-19 cases as the country was seeing a “huge strain” on the health care system due to a sharp rise in cases.
In an interview with ANI, Dr Guleria said causes for the fast spread of the virus are “multi-factorial”.
“But two main causes are that when in January and February vaccination started and cases went down, people stopped following COVID appropriate behaviour and at this time the virus mutated and it spread more rapidly,” he said.
The vaccination drive was launched on January 16 in the country.
Dr Guleria said if 15 per cent of COVID-19 cases require hospital care and one person is admitted on average for five to seven days, hospital beds get occupied and with more patients coming, the hospitals may run out of beds.
“At present, we are not only seeing record-breaking numbers but we are also seeing a huge strain on the health care system. Because no health system will be able to manage so many patients. And we will have a crisis in terms of patient management. Doctors are already over-burdened. They have been working for more than a year and that also includes other healthcare workers,” he added.
He said there is a need to keep increasing hospital beds and resources for the increasing number of cases.
“We also have to urgently bring down the number of COVID-19 cases,” he said.
Dr Guleria called for a “multipronged attack” to contain the virus.
“There is a need to go back to all the strategies that we were following six-seven months ago to decrease the number of cases,” he said.
He noted that there has been a huge increase in the number of cases in a very few days “rather than weeks or months that we had seen last time”.
Asked about some people testing positive for COVID-19 even after taking the vaccine, he said vaccine prevents a person from getting the more severe disease but it does not prevent you from the infection totally.
“We have to remember that no vaccine is 100 per cent efficient. You may get the infection but the antibodies in our body will not allow the virus to multiply and you’ll not have severe disease,” he said.
Answering a query, he said this a time when a lot of religious activities happen in the country and polls are also underway.
“We must understand lives are also important. We can do this in a restricted manner so that religious sentiment is not hurt and COVID appropriate behaviour can be followed,” he said.
Dr Guleria said there was no specific answer to how long the second wave of COVID-19 will continue in India and it depends on how quickly and efficiently the spread of virus is contained.
Asked about the situation in Delhi, he said the city has a larger spike compared to the situation six-seven months ago.
“A lot of containment zones were made, almost like a mini-lockdown in those areas. We need to start looking at the same strategies,” he said.