Kolkata: Thousands across Kolkata now have symptoms identical to that of Covid — mild fever, cough, body ache and weakness — leading to a scare which has now been accentuated by two Covid deaths in the state since May 29. While a majority of these patients are unlikely to have had the viral attack, a substantial number could be mild Covid patients, say doctors. Ignoring persisting symptoms, especially breathing distress, could be dangerous, they warn.
A city private hospital has started collecting data on the prevalence of viruses post-Covid. It indicates that rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus and para-influenza have been the most commonly detected over the last fortnight. Even though mostly innocuous and far less dangerous than Covid in its worst form, they have led to a scare. Doctors point out that temperature fluctuation and the impending onset of monsoon have let loose these viruses that are taking a toll on health with symptoms that are close to Covid. But the number of those suffering from a mild Covid attack could actually be higher than the official figure since tests are rarely being done, they pointed out.
“These viruses can trigger symptoms that overlap with those of Covid, barring, probably, loss of the sense of smell. We got many tested, particularly those lined for surgeries. Barring a couple, the rest had other viruses — either rhinovirus, syncytial or para-influenza,” said CMRI Hospital pulmonology director Raja Dhar.
Even though symptoms overlap, these viruses are much less potent and haven’t yet been very severe, added Dhar. “Everyone can’t be tested for virus since the test is expensive. But we are carrying it out on a significant number for data on the kind of viruses that are active post-Covid,” said Dhar.
Many have sought treatment for Covid-like symptoms over the last one week though none had a severe disease, said RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS) intensivist Sauren Panja. “Temperature fluctuation has triggered viruses that are now active. They will continue to remain active and will afflict many. The symptoms are scary due to their similarity with Covid but they are manageable at home,” said Panja. He added that even Covid in its present form was unlikely to be severe and will not require hospitalization.
It has been spreading fast since the prevailing humidity is ideal for the multiplication of viruses, said AMRI Hospital-Mukundapur internal medicine consultant Joydeep Ghosh. “It is difficult to control since viruses get easily transmitted in public places. The symptoms are overlapping with Covid so it’s difficult to rule it out in every case. But few are willing to get a Covid test done,” said Ghosh. He, however, felt that Covid, too, has turned mild to cause more harm than any other virus.
IPGMER professor Diptendra Sarkar agreed. “Along with other viruses, Covid, too, could be striking some. It’s not getting detected since almost none is getting tested. We are getting away with it since the virus is now mild. But anyone with fever and breathing distress must seek medical help,” said Sarkar.

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