The war against the coronavirus is not over for many in Delhi even after they defeated the deadly disease in initial battles. According to doctors, the number of patients with serious post-Covid complications in the outpatient departments (OPD) of the national capital's hospitals is increasing alarmingly.
Doctors are now handling 25-30 patients with post-Covid complications in the OPDs daily, and the symptoms are far more serious than those reported in the first wave. Patients are requiring oxygen support several weeks after recovering from the infection; last year, the most common symptom was fatigue.
Dr Vivek Nangia, Head of the Department of Respiratory Medicine at Max Hospital, Saket, said: "70-80% of our OPDs are flooded with post-Covid patients. Classically, we see lung fibrosis in patients who are over 65 or have been smokers but this time, because middle-aged people, younger patients and even children were admitted in larger numbers, we have patients who are on oxygen support even after discharge; we have had to send them home with oxygen onflow."
Covid-recovered patients are reporting high-grade fever months after recovering, doctors say.
Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, Senior Consultant of Internal Medicine at Indraprastha Apollo hospital, said, "We are seeing a lot of patients with persistent high-grade fever even in the 3rd and 4th week post recovery. Fever was there in the first wave also but this time it's much higher. Steroids have also been used this time, so we are perplexed whether this is just an inflammation or due to secondary infections. Apart from Mucormycosis (Black Fungus), we are also seeing lung fungal infections and bacterial infections. There are far more infections this time than the first wave. 80% of our recent hospitalisations have been for post-Covid."
For some patients, the post-Covid symptoms were so severe that they had to be admitted into intensive care again.
Dr Rajat Aggarwal, Additional Director of the Intensive Care Unit at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Okhla, said, "3-4 patients are coming daily into our intensive care unit with various problems. Majority are coming with lung failure and require ventilation or high oxygen support or even ECMO. Few patients are also coming with gangrene of their digits (fingers and toes) and ruptured liver abscess."
Delhi's daily cases have declined to around 500, weeks after the national capital reported an unprecedented surge.
On Friday, two Delhi government committees reviewed the preparedness of the national capital in tackling a possible third wave.