COVID-19 in India: India today recorded a slight dip in the number of daily COVID-19 cases. The cause of the current wave of COVID-19 infection is due to the XBB 1.16 variant also dubbed as Arcturus.

According to doctors, in the current wave of COVID-19 infection, the common symptoms include shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing, body ache and muscle pain, sore throat, running nose, chest pain, and headaches just like in previous waves.

Doctors maintain that in this wave too, some patients are reporting loss of smell and taste during the infection. Here’s what the experts say:

According to Dr. Sakshi Singh, Consultant, Department of Internal Medicine at Amrita Hospital, Faridabad, a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases has been seen in the community in the last few weeks.

“Though it has been noted that most of the cases are presenting with mild symptoms like headache, fever, malaise, upper airway symptoms, with some having gastrointestinal symptoms. It is encouraging to observe that only a small number of cases have shown severe symptoms, leading to the requirement of oxygen or ventilator support. Many of these patients are also having multisystem comorbidities,” Dr. Singh told Financial

However, Dr. Singh emphasised that it is important to note that though the severity is low, infectivity is high.

“Also, it must not be forgotten that other than COVID-19, there are other viruses and infections that can present with similar symptoms and can lead to severe pneumonitis. Thus, alongside medical management, people have to focus on following COVID-appropriate behavior so as to prevent this present wave from gaining massive spread,” Dr. Singh added.

She also pointed out that many patients have also noted loss of smell and taste during the illness and are anxious when it would come back.

“They must not panic but need to be patient, as most cases can expect the beginning of return in 8-12 weeks. However, certain cases have been seen where these become a part of long COVID, and in some cases, it has been reported to last even till 18-20 months. So, as people engage in social gatherings and crowds, they need to practice appropriate behavior, and even the family of those affected need to do so to prevent the surge in spread,” she added.

According to Dr. Kuldeep Kumar Grover, Head of critical care & Pulmonology – CK Birla Hospital, Gurgaon, onset of symptoms of loss of smell and taste, associated with COVID-19, occurs 4 to 5 days after other symptoms.

“80% of those patients who have a loss or distortion of their sense of smell will recover that sense about 1 to 3 month after the COVID-19 infection has resolved. Most people get better in a few weeks, but for some people, it can take longer – sometimes over a year,” Dr. Grover added.

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