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Express e-Adda LIVE Updates: We may see a second spike in Covid-19 cases in winter, says Dr Guleria

Online Express Adda: "The new strategies will have to be based on Covid-19 being around. There needs to be different strategies for different areas in the country. One size fits all approach won't help," AIIMS Director Dr Guleria said.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 5, 2020 2:55:25 pm
Dr Randeep Guleria is part of the core team of top officials reviewing and monitoring the pandemic in the country.

Online Express Adda: AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria, who is closely involved in building strategies for prevention, containment, and management of COVID-19 in India, stressed “we have to live with Covid-19 for some time” and said a second spike in cases might happen in the winter.

“We should look at this as a long-term battle stretching beyond a year,” Dr Guleria, who is the guest at The Indian Express’ second online Express Adda, said. He said the focus should be more on hotspots to bring down the number of cases.

“The new strategies will have to be based on Covid-19 being around. There needs to be different strategies for different areas in the country. One size fits all approach won’t help. There needs to be granular monitoring in hotspot areas,” Dr Guleria said.

Dr Guleria, who is part of the core team of top officials reviewing and monitoring the pandemic in the country, said community participation had helped in containing the spread of the infection. On the way ahead, Dr Guleria said the private sector needs to become active to handle the Covid-19 crisis. “So far, we have not seen much participation from private hospitals,” Dr Guleria says.

As India gears for a staggered exit from the lockdown, Dr Guleria gave his insights on preparations for a possible surge in cases if curbs are eased and if the country has enough beds, paramedical staff, intensive care units, and ventilators to face a possible spike.

Live Blog

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria on strategies for prevention, containment, and management of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in India. Follow LIVE Updates

20:30 (IST)04 May 2020
Post-Covid strategy should be practical, balanced: Dr Guleria

On a post-Covid world, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria says there needs to be a practical strategy and the government needs to strike out a balance between resuming economic activities and containing the spread of the novel coronavirus. "Measures should be practical keeping in mind safety guidelines," he says.

With this the Express Adda session with Dr Guleria comes to an end. Thank you for joining the live blog.

20:27 (IST)04 May 2020
Antibody tests not a diagnostic tool: Dr Guleria

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria says antibody tests are not diagnostic tests and the gold standard is still the nasal and swab tests. "The utility of antibody tests is more towards surveillance. Its not a diagnostic tool. The test has not shown much promise in clinical tests done during SARs and MERs," says dr Guleria.

20:21 (IST)04 May 2020
Covid-19 war has to be fought at community level, not at hospital level: Dr Guleria

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said the Covid-19 curve is still not going downwards in India. Dr Guleria says we have to work aggresively to get community participation. "We need to find ways to implement this new normal of social distancing and economic activity. The solution lies in aggresive community level participation. The war has to be fought at the community level and not at the hospital level," says Dr Guleria.

20:13 (IST)04 May 2020
Dr Guleria: 3-4 research priorities in India now, including plasma therapy

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria, who also heads the Clinical Research Group of the National Task Force for Covid-19, says there are 3-4 research priorities in India. "One is plasma therapy and utility of BCG vaccination and effectiveness of HCQ drug. We are looking to get some of the answers in the next few months," Dr Guleria says. We also need to see the effect of humidity and rising temperatures in our country on Covid-19, Dr Guleria says.

20:05 (IST)04 May 2020
We may see a second spike in Covid-19 cases in winter, says Dr Guleria

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria says the novel coronavirus may come back in winter and we may see a second spike. "We should look at this as a long-term battle stretching beyond a year," says Dr Guleria.

19:50 (IST)04 May 2020
Covid-19 much more infectious than SARS, MERS: Dr Guleria

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria says there needs to be different strategies for different areas in the country. "One size fits all approach wont help. There needs to be granular monitoring in hotspot areas," says Dr Guleria. On ways to prevent Covid-19 from recurring, Dr Guleria says, "Covid-19 has adapted itself. SARS afftected the lower respiratory system more. MERS was not that infectious. Covid-19 affects the upper respiratory system, hence it is much more infectious."

19:44 (IST)04 May 2020
It has been seen coronavirus stays in the body for a long time: Dr Guleria

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria says there needs to be minute monitoring of people mixing from hotspots to those in green zones. "People travelling to other states, like migrants, have to be placed under mandatory quarantine for 14 days," he says. When asked if a person can have Covid-19 after recovering, Dr Guleria says, "If an infected person form antibodies in the blood, then the chances of getting infected again will decline. We don't know for how much time the antibody can provide resistance. It has been seen the virus stays in the body for a long time," the AIIMS Director says.

19:38 (IST)04 May 2020
Private sector needs to become active to handle Covid-19 crisis: AIIMS Director

O the way ahead, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria says the private sector needs to become active to handle the Covid-19 crisis. "So far, we have not seen much participation from private hospitals," Dr Guleria says. Stoppage of other surgeries has caused a strain on the private hospitals, Dr Guleria says. "There is also much concern over healcare workers getting infected with Covid-19," he says. 

19:31 (IST)04 May 2020
We have to live with Covid-19 for some time, says AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria

We have to live with Covid-19 for some time, says AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria. "The new strategies will have to be based on Covid-19 being around," he says. Evidence of efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine is questionable, he says. "So far, it is recommneded for 2 categories -- healthcare workers and close contact of Covid-19 patients," Dr Guleria says. Remdesivir, which was used for treatment of Ebola, has also not shown much promise but its still early days, says Dr Guleria.

19:24 (IST)04 May 2020
Community participation has helped in containing Covid-19 spread: Dr Guleria

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria says there needs to be a different strategy while dealing with metro cities to contain the spread of Covid-19. "There needs to be micro-planning and one cannot do that by just looking the curve as a whole," he says. Community participation has helped in containing the spread of the infection, he says. 

19:19 (IST)04 May 2020
Focus should be more on hotspots to bring down the number of cases: Dr Guleria

On testing strategy, Dr Guleria says the first plan was to test people coming from abroad. "We have started testing people with Influenza-like illness. As more cases started, our testing strategy became more liberal. From 10,000, we are testing more than 75,000 a day now," says Dr Guleria. On community transmission, Dr Guleria says it is not happening all over the country. The focus should be more on hotspots to bring down the number of cases, he says.

19:14 (IST)04 May 2020
One of the positives has been improvement in healthcare infrastructure: Dr Guleria

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria says one of the positives has been the improvement in healthcare infrastructure. On the wide variation in mortality rate in India and western countries, Dr Guleria says, "There have been various hypostheses like having a younger population and BCG vaccine administration. We have a lower mortality in India. It is a acse for concern in older population."

18:52 (IST)04 May 2020
Lockdown was a very significant strategy to contain Covid-19 spread: Dr Guleria

In an interview with The Indian Express last month, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria had said even if it’s causing severe strain in the economy, the national lockdown was a very significant strategy to contain the spread of the coronavirus in India. “We are lucky that the number of cases has not skyrocketed. But at the same time, I don’t think we should sit back. We have to be very aggressive in trying to maintain this by containing the spread in a geographical area rather than allowing it to spread. We need active case finding, and maybe more testing in these areas,” he had said then.

18:43 (IST)04 May 2020
Covid-19 cases near 43,000; toll at 1389

For those of you who might have missed the news of the day, here is a rundown. The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 1,389 and the total number of cases climbed to 42,836 in the country on Monday, registering an increase of 83 deaths and a record jump of 2,573 cases in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said in its daily briefing.

Meanwhile, as the third phase of the lockdown kicked in on Monday with several relaxations added, there has been a noticeable increase in road traffic as non-essential stores lifted shutters, including liquor shops, which people made a beeline at, throwing social distancing norms to the wind. READ THE FULL STORY HERE

18:34 (IST)04 May 2020
AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria is guest at e-Adda today

Welcome to our live blog for Express adda, where AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria, who is closely involved in building strategies for prevention, containment, and management of COVID-19 in India, is our guest today. Dr Guleria is part of the core team of top officials reviewing and monitoring the pandemic in the country. He heads the Clinical Research Group of the National Task Force for COVID-19. He is also a member of the empowered group constituted by the government to track the availability of facilities and critical care training and heads a team that runs the National Tele-consultation Centre at AIIMS, connecting doctors across the country in real-time for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Dr Randeep Guleria at AIIMS, New Delhi. (Express photo)

Dr Randeep Guleria is part of the core team of top officials reviewing and monitoring the pandemic in the country. He heads the Clinical Research Group of the National Task Force for COVID-19. He is also a member of the empowered group constituted by the government to track the availability of facilities and critical care training and heads a team that runs the National Tele-consultation Centre at AIIMS, connecting doctors across the country in real-time for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The Express Adda is a series of informal interactions organised by The Indian Express Group and features those at the centre of change. Among the recent guests were Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Nobel laureates Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian, former UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and cancer specialist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee. Last week, the Adda moved online with Dr Arvind Subramanian, former Chief Economic Adviser and Visiting Lecturer at Harvard Kennedy School as the first e-Adda guest.

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