Physicians across Calcutta get panic calls – Telegraph India

Kolkata News

A woman in her 40s called up a physician on Thursday morning and asked him whether she had Covid-19 because she thought she had difficulty breathing the previous night.

The doctor enquired about the overall health of the south Calcutta resident and said she was doing fine.

Respiratory distress, along with fever and persistent dry cough, is a symptom of coronavirus infection. In some cases, a person who has contracted the virus could have mild or no symptoms.

Doctors across Calcutta are getting calls from panic-stricken people with symptoms ranging from runny nose to stomach disorder, asking whether they have contracted the virus.

“Someone had sneezed twice in a day and called me to ask whether he should undergo a Covid-19 test. Such is the panic among people, and it is quite natural,” physician Rahul Jain said.

“Most of the callers are suffering from fever or sore throat, symptoms that are common during this time of the year. I am asking them to wait for a day. If fever or other symptoms persist for more than a day, they should go to a doctor,” Jain said.

“It is preferable to visit one of the fever clinics opened by government hospitals but one can also consult one’s personal physician to avoid crowd.”

There are “confusion and panic” among people, said Ajoy Krishna Sarkar, pulmonologist and intensive care specialist. “My phone is ringing continuously throughout the day…. The coronavirus symptoms are mostly similar to those of common flu but it’s uncommon that a patient would have a runny nose.”

Oncologists, too, are getting calls.

“Many cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy has a low white blood cell count, which often leads to fever. Many patients are calling me to ask whether their fever is related to the coronavirus,” surgical oncologist Gautam Mukhopadhyay said.

“We are asking the day they received the last chemotherapy dose and then trying to find out whether the low WBC count is normal.”

Mukhopadhyay said cancer patients were more panicked than others because their compromised immunity made them more vulnerable to infections.

According to the World Health Organisation, the novel coronavirus affects people in different ways.

“Covid-19 is a respiratory disease and most infected people will develop mild to moderate symptoms and recover without requiring special treatment,” it says.