Dr. Aarti Chitkara who is a senior resident doctor at AIIMS and has been with their covid care facility for the past 2 months, helps in identifying mild vs severe symptoms:
• Problem in breathing
• Body ache which is termed as myalgia
• Diarrhoea and
• Not being able to smell or taste things
She explains that while this year these symptoms have not changed, they are persisting for longer resulting in a more severe illness. Last year most of the symptoms would subside within five days however, now, the symptoms worsen on the fifth day and peak on the seventh. She explains that the second week is considered the most dangerous which requires greater caution. Breaking the fever cycle that is persisting despite medication is becoming a challenge. Additionally, several people are in the denial phase and are treating their symptoms of cough and fever as normal. She insists that if these symptoms show, it is important to consider it as Covid-19 positive unless proven otherwise.
The mode of Covid-19 transmission is the same as it was last year but the medical journal Lancet proposed the possibility of airborne transmission. However, this is yet to be proven. Dr. Aarti states that this information should not induce panic but greater precaution on our part.
Dr. Aarti defines mutation as changes in the genetic structure of the virus, the outer covering, or DNA. Every virus has its inherent strength to undergo mutation. Similarly, the Covid-19 virus is also transforming into a different mutant strain resulting in symptoms of varying patterns that persist for longer. This mutation poses a challenge in medical care as there was no fool-proof treatment to begin with. Even the effectiveness of the vaccines against specific strains needs to be examined as they are made based on the viral coding of a particular strain. However, rest assured because the genetic structure of the virus is more or less the same, the antibodies produced due to the vaccines ensure cross-protection and are valid for quite a few strains.