Srinagar, Jan 17: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Monday said lockdown should be decided on the basis of number of patients hospitalized with Covid rather than the number of positive cases.
“Hospitalization rates, not case count should determine curbs and restrictions,” said DAK President and Influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
Dr Hassan said the number of cases should not be the metric for imposing restrictions.
“Daily case count was used as a barometer early in the pandemic to impose restrictions because that time a rise in cases inevitably led to increase in hospitalizations,” he said.
“With omicron those metrics have changed now,” said Dr Nisar.
He said while Omicron variant causes lot of infections, most of the infections are mild. Even though the positivity rate is high, most of the cases do not require hospitalization.
The DAK President said we need to recognize that omicron is all around us and it can infect anybody. We no longer need to identify and manage every single case of the variant.
“Case counts have lost relevance; hospitalization numbers are now reliable markers when it comes to assessing the threat from pandemic,” he said.
“We should be shifting our focus on Covid-related hospitalizations, bed occupancy and number of patients on ventilators.”
“That should be the major metric and not cases in deciding about imposing severe restrictions, like lockdown,” he added.
General Secretary DAK Dr Arshad Ali said the reason why we were tracking cases was because we were hoping we could eliminate the virus.
“But it is not in the nature of the virus to get eliminated,” he said adding “we have to live with the virus and it is going to stay with us.”
Spokesperson DAK Dr Riyaz Ahmad Dagga said we have reached a point in pandemic where policy should no longer be based around the idea that we cannot resume normal life until case number is below a particular level.
“These levels were set before vaccination. Setting threshold for activities according to case numbers no longer makes sense,” he said.
“Countries like Canada, Philippines and Singapore are now implementing an approach that is not focused on case counts,” he added.