Experts stress need to further probe asymptomatic patients


Although a large number of patients testing positive for COVID-19 are categorised as “asymptomatic”, doctors and medical experts say many of them are not “truly asymptomatic”. They may not have listed their symptoms accurately, and experts point out that there is a need to ask more questions and probe further.

M.K. Sudarshan, chairman of the State COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee, said: “After probing, many patients reveal that they had fever for one or two days and it had gone away after they took medicines. So, it is important for doctors to probe and diagnose their symptoms accurately.”

Sources in the Department of Health and Family Welfare pointed out that many the patients who were classified as “asymptomatic” were under home isolation and not reporting their symptoms accurately to avoid hospital admission.

Overworked staff

He also admitted that in many cases, healthcare professionals who are overworked and are facing burnout may not be reporting the symptoms accurately as the number of positive cases reported are on the rise.

Another doctor working in a government hospital in the city pointed out that with doctors seeing multiple patients a day, the time spent with each patient has reduced. “As a result, there is very little scope for taking down detailed patient history or conducting detailed investigation,” the doctor said.

H.M. Prasanna, president-elect, Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association, said many patients under home isolation delay coming to the hospitals as they feel they do not have symptoms.

“When people are under home isolation, they need to pay attention to symptoms and report accurately. They also need to do basic investigations even if they are unable to report symptoms. We often find that patients have pneumonia when we do a CT scan. But they come to the hospital late and this increases fatality rate,” he said.

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