Understanding the Physicians’ Opinion On the Second Wave Of COVID-19 Infections

The second wave of infection has crippled the healthcare systems in India and many places over the world. This wave of infections seems to spread a lot faster as compared to the first one. For the second wave, we have a better understanding of the disease and have newly approved medicines and vaccines to fight against it. As the SARS-CoV-2 virus mutates, so do the symptoms and disease course.

Objective: Understanding the physicians’ opinion on the second wave of COVID19 infections

A total of 1023 doctors participated in the survey, including 42% general practitioners, 36% others, 6% dentist, 5% pediatrics, 3% anesthesiologist, 3% pharmacologist, 3% ayurvedic doctor and 2% diabetologist.

  1. Around 54% of doctors responded that they frequently treat a patient for COVID-19 if the patient exhibits symptoms but RT-PCR reports are negative

  2. A majority of doctors, 73% responded that after 7-8 days of infection, patients’ conditions might worsen

  3. Around 50% of doctors often recommend radiographic studies in a patient exhibiting symptoms but is RT-PCR negative

  4. Around 34% of doctors responded that they often came across patients with ‘happy hypoxia’

  5. Around 33% of doctors encountered gastric symptoms as new symptoms of COVID-19

  6. Around 38% of doctors responded that compared to the first wave more patients ate able to recover at home during the second wave

  7. Around 25% of doctors responded that they frequently prescribe ivermectin to patients having mild to moderate COVID-19

  8. Around 43% of doctors responded that they find remdesivir effective in treating serious COVID-19 patients

  9. Around 36% of doctors responded that they found elevated transaminases as a common side-effect of remdesivir

  10. A majority of doctors, 54% recommend a COVID-19 recovered patient to get vaccinated three weeks after recovery

  11. Around 30% of doctors responded that they noted fever as a common side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine

Our survey revealed that doctors frequently consider COVID-19 as a diagnosis if a patient is presenting symptoms and has a negative RT-PCR report. Around 38% of doctors, responded that in the second wave more patients were able to recover at home and an equal number of doctors said the opposite. Even though there is limited evidence of the efficacy of ivermectin and doxycycline in COVID-19, they were frequently prescribed as off-label treatments. Around 50% of doctors recommended radiographic studies on patients showing symptoms and are RT-PCR negative. However, ICMR has recommended that radiological studies are necessary only in severe cases and some moderate cases. This also avoids exposing the patients to unnecessary infections. As vaccination drives pick pace, so will the rate of related adverse events increase. Physicians should provide patients with adequate knowledge about vaccines and also help reduce vaccine hesitancy.

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