California COVID-19 cases rising, but state ‘better prepared now’

RITU JHA

COVID-19 cases are surging in California because people are being careless and asymptomatic carriers are spreading the virus but the state is better prepared now, felt Dr Jasbir S Kang, medical director, Yuba Sutter Hospitalist Group, California.

“We are seeing more patients now,” said Dr Kang, who in an April 6 Interview with Indicanews had called COVID-19 a tsunami. “Now 100 percent of the patients are checked. Often patients come for something else but find out they had corona.”

The latest report posted on https://covid19.ca.gov/ shows California has over 216, 550 cases and not far away from reaching 6,000 deaths. The US has had the world’s highest number of infections (2,564,163) and fatalities (125,928) from the novel coronavirus, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

The rise in coronavirus cases has again compelled California governor Gavin Newsom to shut down bars in areas that have numbers rising. But bars serving foods are allowed to operate.

Newsom in his statement said, “…it is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are seeing the biggest increases. Each of us has the power to limit the spread of this virus. Wear a face covering and keep physically distant outside the home. Don’t gather “n groups, and if you are older or have a condition that puts you at higher risk of COVID-19, protect yourself by staying home.”

Dr Kang said most patients they are seeing are in their 50s and older.

“If somebody is sick you know they have symptoms but the problem is people who do not have any symptoms — they are the ones who are going to spread it around,” he said.

People need to be more responsible, wear a face mask and practice social distancing, he underlined.

He said people have become casual, many are visiting places of worship and traveling, and businesses like restaurants and shopping malls are open.

Asked about the medicines that have been effective in treating COVID-19, Dr Kang said there have been a few but none of them is hundred percent effective.

“Previously we had no idea about how to treat these patients. Then dexamethasone they found beneficial and people with low oxygen they have seen 30 percent improvement. The same thing is with remdesivir, it reduces their hospital stay by 30 percent,” he said.

Asked about hydroxychloroquine, he said they have stopped using it.

“We don’t use it . There is no data. In the beginning, there was a lot of press [about it] but it has not been shown as beneficial at all,” said Dr Kang.

He added: “Even remdesivir or any other medicine is not hundred percent effective.”

The Food and Drug Administration has given emergency use authorization to remdesivir for the treatment of hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19. Monday, Gilead Sciences announced pricing for remdesivir, $390 per vial for all governments of developed countries, and $520 per vial for privatized companies.

“Look, remdesivir may not work in everybody,” Dr Kang cautioned. ‘

Vaccines, he added, are not a success so far.

Even tests done, he said, are not a hundred percent accurate. He said the doctors at his hospital repeat the tests when symptoms show and yet often the results are negative.

“It all depends on how you collect the samples,” he explained. “If not done properly you could get a false negative result. So, it’s very important how you collect the sample.”

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