Author: Namratha Singh
In the last few days, we have seen a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in our country. It is speculated that the number of new cases of COVID-19 is going to hit at least 10 lakhs per day with an average death rate of no less than 6000 per day at its peak. This, my friend, is only a reported case count. It’s also safe to assume that the government might be forced to reduce the reported cases count by at least 3 times. Yes, you read it right! 3 times. If we do not act responsibly now, we will be pushing our country back by a decade, if not more.
Today, the healthcare system is choked. We are putting our front line warriors at risk. At that point, we also know that people who have had COVID-19 last year, have completed their full vaccinations are being reinfected and losing their life.
Needless to say, that if we do not act now, we might lose this battle to fate.
How can I help end this pandemic?
- Break the chain of transmission. Don’t be a source of spread – Mutated viruses in India are dangerous compared to UK SA Brazil variants. There is a double or triple mutation that is spreading faster, affecting the younger generation more. Those people who are breadwinners for their family and the ones who push the economy of our country higher. Mutations can only occur if the existing virus has seen a mass spread and is staring at an extinction. It’s the virus’s way to survive.
- Listen to your doctors – Early treatment by doing the tests in initial stages and meeting your doctor early will prevent complications and admission to the hospital. Hospitals at this point, may not have a bed to offer, let alone oxygen, which is your lifesaver.
- Be self reliant. Adopt and abide by COVID appropriate behaviour.
What is COVID appropriate behaviour?
- Wear a mask.
- Preferably N95 or KN95. Have two masks. Swap them and use them for 1-2 weeks unless you’ve been in close contact with an infected individual/group.
- If you do not have a N95 mask, wear a clinical or surgical mask over a cloth mask.
- Wash hands often. Hopefully every few hours. Definitely, when you’ve received a parcel or when you receive food from outside.
- Keep as much distance from people as possible when outside. At least 6 feet. With many of the new strains, it’s believed that even 6 feet might not be good enough.
- Avoid closed spaces. When there is ventilation, it will help the aerosols and virus particles move out and when there is sunlight, it’s going to kill the virus. This is not foolproof, but if you’d rather be, be in a well ventilated place.
- Sanitize objects that come from outside before use.
Are multi-mutation viruses more dangerous?
Viruses mutate all the time. Some become dangerous, while some weaken the virus. Double mutation is when an already mutated virus mutates again. If this virus mutates one more time, it becomes a triple mutation. Not all mutated viruses are dangerous. Just like their primitive cousins, some are more dangerous than the other. How do we know if it’s more dangerous or not? Look around. If more people you personally know are falling sick, then, you need to be more careful than before. Do note, the Indian strains are now appearing to be the dangerous kind. It’s spreading fast and affecting healthy, young individuals as well.
What does it mean that the propagation of a virus can happen through air?
- Aerosol spread: It was earlier believed that the COVID-19 virus spreads through aerosols. What does it mean? When an infected person sneezes or secretes any fluid from the respiratory tract, because it’s in a liquid carrier, it would drop on a surface. If we come in contact with that surface and without practicing COVID appropriate hygiene, the virus could enter one’s system.
- Airborne spread: Imagine an infected person sneezing. Virus through aerosols need not immediately drop down on a surface. It can stay in the air for sometime before it expires.
Why is there a rise in cases?
- Not following COVID appropriate behaviour. Irresponsible healthy individuals assuming that they are fine and hence venturing in public spaces potentially becoming Asymptomatic carriers.. Remember, Asymptomatic carriers means exactly that. One does not have the symptoms, but one may be carrying a viral load enough to infect someone else, and that someone else may not be as healthy. One can also be the source of a virus mutation.
- Dangerous Mutations – remember, Sars-COV-2 can mutate only inside a human body and there is vast spread.
- Not getting vaccinated – being vaccinated is better than not.
Can we mix vaccines?
There has been no conclusive studies. However, Germany has approved of mixing vaccines. In India, we do not have any such directives. At this point, it is best avoided.
Does Remdesivir help treat?
Studies have been negative. Not even inconclusive. However, for someone who is recovering, they face less time in a hospital environment. Be as it may, leave medicines to the doctors. Do not self medicate.
I hope this note helps you make wise choices in the interest of yourself, your family, your community, and the country at large. Practicing COVID-appropriate behavior is still the best prevention and cure of COVID-19. If every single one of us takes a pledge to stay indoors and not let the virus spread, we can overcome the pandemic and contribute to rebuilding our nation. The power to end the Pandemic is IN YOU!