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Kovid Korner

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Dr Nitin Pandey
Almost 9 months into the Pandemic, and the only thing about Coronavirus we are sure of is that there is nothing we can be sure of! How the Pandemic will unfold, beats the predictions of even the mostexperienced Gurus in the world. Every day we learn something new and
realize that what we had presumed correct so far, was not really so correct, after all. This week the much feared Second wave of Corona Tsunami hit Europe, but surprise, surprise, the rate of hospital admissions and deaths showed only a marginal increase, beating predictions that the Second wave will be much more devastating than the first, as was the case in the last Pandemic, the Spanish Flu of 1918. As Epidemiologists scrambled to understand why, the role of the much feared contaminated door handles and other objects in spreading COVID-19 came into question, with experts now saying that unless someone, who is heavily infected, sneezed or coughed directly onto an object which you touch within minutes, chances of inanimate objects spreading the virus are extremely low. Another unexplained phenomenon was the finding that chances of one infected person infecting others who stay in the same household are less than 4%. How long does the immunity last after a person has apparently healed is again a matter of dispute, some saying one month and others 3 months, so whether a person can again get infected after sometime is a question up for grabs. The British idea of giving “immunity passports” to people who have gone through Corona-virus, crashed through the roof.
What is expected though is that India will soon overtake US in the total number of cases, possibly by Diwali to become the country with the highest number of cases. This is but expected  because of the fact that India’s population is roughly 4.5 times that of US. If we exclude the population, we are number 82 on the list word wide with just 3954 cases per million population; our mortality rate (deaths per million population) places us 72nd in the world, quite good by any standards.
On the National level, we will continue to see higher peaks both in terms of new cases and recoveries.  Recently recoveries in India exceeded the number of new cases ( 95,880 recoveries v/s 93,337 new
cases yesterday) on the National level and at State levels too.
Uttarakhand on Saturday had 1285 recoveries v/s 868 new cases giving a recovery rate of 68.66%, while the National recovery rate stood at a healthy 77.3%. Mortality rate in India has been decreasing too and
currently stands at around 1.7%. As the Pandemic progresses (till when we have no idea) and as these figures rise, we should not be unduly
perturbed, we have to live with the virus.
All these figures, should not mean that we take the virus lightly. It is a lethal virus and we must protect ourselves and our near ones. Long term infirmities due to an infection and fatalities do happen and we must not let our guard down. Wearing a mask is a sign of bravery
and wisdom these days and also of responsibility towards society. We must avoid crowded areas and we must not hesitate to pull up someone who is not following these precautions. As they say, safety is in
numbers. Our health is in our hands and we must not depend on the Government to keep us safe. At best, any Government can look after us, if we fall sick, but prevention of sickness is entirely in our hands.
(Dr Nitin Pandey is a Dehradun based ex Indian Air
Force doctor, a Pediatrician and an active Social worker.)