A woman, wearing a face mask, walks past a coronavirus theme-based mural, in Mumbai. Photograph: Kunal Patil/PTI Photo
New Delhi, April 2 (PTI): The head of Maharashtra's COVID-19 task force Dr Sanjay Oak on Thursday said a COVID-19 patient can infect 400 people, and hence, there is no alternative to masks, hygiene and social distancing.
Speaking to reporters, Oak said a new range of symptoms such as common cold, mild body ache and fatigue has emerged in COVID-19 patients in the state.
"The coronavirus infection generally spreads through our nose. One COVID-19 patients can infect at least 400 people. Hence, there is no alternative to wearing mask, hygiene and social distancing," the senior health official said.
Symptoms such as common cold, mild body ache and fatigue have emerged among patients and people tend to postpone their visit to a doctor when they notice these signs, he said.
"In the current situation, any such symptom should be treated as COVID-19 infection and medicines should be given accordingly," he said.
Oak also alleged that the Centre was not providing enough support to undertake vaccination for all.
"There are some challenges in mass vaccination. We want permission for door-to-door immunisation. The state government is ready to implement it, but we cannot do it without the Centre's permission," he said.
A sizeable population can't move outside their homes easily and such people can be inoculated at home, the official said, adding that the side-effects of the vaccines are nothing compared to the protection they offer from the virus.
"There are reports that some states have started door-to-door vaccination, and Maharashtra should also be allowed to do so. The state should be able to vaccinate maximum population by June for better control on the virus and its spread," he said.
Speaking about the line of treatment, Oak said, "Treating every symptom as COVID-19 and starting the treatment as soon as possible is the need of the hour."
There have been cases where people with a common cold and mild body ache come to COVID-19 centres very late and succumb to the disease within a couple of days from the date of admission, he said.
"This means when they approach us, the infection has been spread widely," he added.
When asked about the surge in infections in the state, he said, "It is true that the number of cases in Maharashtra is drastically increasing. Maharashtra is reporting the number of COVID-19 cases honestly, and hence, our figures appear high."
Genome sequencing of samples in the state has been increased to ascertain the strain of the virus, he added.