PESHAWAR: More than 50 per cent of coronavirus patients in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have recovered from the infection against the nationwide recovery rate of 48.08 per cent.
The province has so far recorded 27,506 Covid-19 cases and 15,520 of them (50.42 per cent) have recovered, declares the World Health Organisation in a report.
Khyber Medical University dean (public health) Prof Ziaul Haq, who holds a PhD degree in public health, told Dawn that the new guidelines have led to spike in number of recovered patients.
“The initial recommendation to confirm the clearance of the virus, and thus allow discharge from isolation, required a patient to be clinically recovered and to have two negative RT-PCR results on sequential samples taken at least 24 hours apart,” he said.
Province’s Covid-19 deaths top 1,000
Prof Ziaul Haq said according to the new WHO guidelines and latest research, if a patient didn’t show any symptoms of the virus at least after 10 days and stayed without temperature and other symptoms for 72 hours without taking any medicines, then he or she was put in the list of recovered people.
“For example, if a patient had symptoms for two days, then the patient can be released from isolation after 13 days from the date of symptom onset. For a patient with symptoms for 14 days, he/she can be discharged 17 days after date of symptom onset. For a patient with symptoms for 30 days, he/she can be discharged 33 days after symptom onset,” he said.
The dean said under the new guideline adopted by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on June 23, Covid-19 patients were contacted over the phone and asked if they had any symptoms and if they didn’t have symptoms, they’re declared recovered.
“Earlier, the patients waited for the test results, which took a long time, for being declared negative and recovered,” he said.
Prof Khalid Mahmood of the Medicine Department at the Lady Reading Hospital told Dawn that there’s a greater chance of survival for those contracting coronavirus three months later like in June 2020 than those infected three months earlier.
He added that the reason for it was that doctors and support staff knew more about Covid-19 now compared with three months ago, so they’re able to treat patients better.
According to Prof Khalid, Covid-19 was initially thought to cause deaths due to pneumonia, so ventilators were thought to be the best way to treat patients, who couldn’t breathe.
“Now, we are realising that the virus also causes blood clots in blood vessels of lungs and other organs. This leads to the reduced oxygenation. Now, we know that just providing oxygen by ventilators will not help but we have to prevent and dissolve the micro-clots in lungs,” he said.
Prof Khalid said drugs like blood thinners were used to prevent clotting.
“Previously, patients used to drop dead on the way or even before reaching a hospital due to reduced oxygen in their blood - oxygen saturation. This was because of happy hypoxia - where even though the oxygen saturation was gradually reducing the Covid-19 patients did not have symptoms until it became critically less like sometimes even 70 per cent,” he said.
The expert said after knowing about happy hypoxia, the doctors were monitoring oxygen saturation of all Covid-19 patients with a simple home use pulse oximeter and hospitalised them if their oxygen saturation dropped to 93 per cent or less.
“This gives more time for doctors to correct oxygen deficiency in blood and a better survival chance in June,” he said.
Prof Khalid said there were other medical reasons, too, for more recoveries from coronavirus.
MORE DEATHS: Death toll from coronavirus in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reached 1,002 after 19 more patients breathed their last on Friday.
Of the new fatalities, seven were reported in Peshawar district, four in Lower Dir, three in Abbottabad, two in Malakand and one each in Dera Ismail Khan, Bajaur and Lower Chitral.
The province recorded 336 new Covid-19 cases, which took its overall tally of confirmed patients to 27,506, said a health department report.
According to it, 805 more patients recovered from the infection.
Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2020