India has recorded 19,556 new cases of the coronavirus, according to Health Ministry data on Tuesday, its lowest daily increase since July 3.
The new infections took India’s total to 10.08 million, according to a Reuters tally.
Daily cases have been falling steadily in India since a peak in September, in spite of a busy festival season last month. India has recorded the world’s second-highest number of infections, after the United States.
A total of 146,111 people have died of the coronavirus in India, with 301 deaths in the last 24 hours, the Ministry said.
Meanwhile, a new study suggests that it can be helpful to assess blood oxygen levels in patients when they are walking if that level is normal when they are sitting. A low level of oxygen in the blood, or hypoxia, contributes to shortness of breath and worsening illness in patients with COVID-19.
At 10 Chicago-area hospitals, doctors studied 531 COVID-19 patients whose blood oxygen levels were normal at rest. Roughly one in four developed hypoxia when they got up and walked. These individuals were nearly five times more likely to eventually need basic oxygen support and nearly eight times more likely to need advanced oxygen therapy, compared to patients whose blood oxygen levels held steady while walking.
The drop in blood oxygen levels while walking could be detected an average of 12 hours before patients required extra oxygen, researchers found. So-called ambulatory hypoxia “may serve as an early, non-invasive physiologic marker for the likelihood of developing moderate to severe disease and help clinicians triage patients and initiate earlier interventions,” the researchers proposed in a paper posted on Thursday on medRxiv ahead of peer review.
Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency said on Monday that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE should only be given during pregnancy “on a case by case basis” because there is not enough data yet on the potential risks to pregnant women.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had already acknowledged the issue on its website. It advises that “getting vaccinated is a personal choice for people who are pregnant.” There is also a lack of data for COVID-19 treatments in pregnant women, according to a paper published on Wednesday in The Lancet Global Health.
Researchers who reviewed clinical trial registries found that of 722 COVID-19 treatment studies, 538 (75%) specifically excluded pregnant women. “Without explicit and proactive efforts to recruit and retain pregnant women in therapeutic trials for COVID-19, expectant mothers will suffer from having fewer medical options available to them, because we are not including them in clinical trials,” co-author Dr. Melanie Taylor from the World Health Organization and CDC said in a statement. “There is a very real possibility that treatment (for COVID-19) could become approved … without evidence-based guidance for use in pregnant women.”