New Delhi: Amid rising daily COVID-19 cases, patients are presenting more non-specific symptoms like diarrhoea and chest pain leading to heart attacks, experts said here on Tuesday.
India on Tuesday reported 8,813 fresh COVID cases and 29 deaths, according to the Union Health Ministry. The national capital had reported 1,227 new infections and eight deaths on Monday.
While patients commonly complain of headache, fever, cough, cold, throat irritation and bodyache, they are also presenting newer symptoms now.
“The number of acute coronary syndrome, myocardial infarction (heart attack) is increasing in COVID positive patients. There are patients who report non-specific symptoms like chest pain, decreased urine output, diarrhoea and then turn out to be Covid positive,” Akshay Budhraja, senior consultant, respiratory and sleep medicine at Aakash Healthcare, told IANS.
“A lot of patients with comorbidities like chronic kidney disease, stroke, hypertension are also contracting COVID and their pre-existing condition is worsening after getting infected with COVID,” he added.
According to Rajesh Chawla, senior consultant, respiratory medicine and pulmonology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, patients are also presenting “giddiness, extreme weakness and temporary loss of smell and taste”.
“Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhoea are the other common symptoms observed in current patients,” Chawla told IANS.
However, the recovery period for most patients is a week, he noted.
Meanwhile, a study of genome sequencing in Delhi has detected the presence of Omicron’s sub-variant BA 2.75 — known to have a higher transmission rate.
The new sub-variant has been detected in the study of 90 samples sent for genome sequencing at Delhi’s Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital.
According to the World Health Organization’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, BA.2.75 appeared to have mutated in a way that could indicate “major immune escape”. The new sub-variant has the potential to infect people who already have antibodies from previous vaccination as well as have been vaccinated earlier.
While BA.2.75 may be driving the surge in infections, the variant is not dangerous. Swaminathan noted that it showed a “clear growth advantage” over other variants in India, yet “it is too early to know that this sub-variant has properties of being more clinically severe”.
So what’s behind the rising death rate?
“The deaths are not entirely because of COVID infection, a few are because of pre-existing chronic lung, heart, kidney disease. But the incidence of acute heart failure has increased in patients with COVID, although a clear direct relation between the two has not been established yet,” Budhraja said.
“The subsequent increase in the number of deaths is majorly with people who come with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer etc,” Chawla added.
Avi Kumar, senior consultant, pulmonolgy, from Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, said that incidents of pneumonia due to Covid or hospitalisation including ICU admission are very different from early Covid waves.
They are mainly required in patients who are having comorbidities, he added. He stressed on the need for increasing the virus surveillance and also suggested people to follow COVID appropriate behaviour like wearing masks, hand hygiene practices.