Dr Nitin Pandey
Dehradun, 17 Oct: The contrast couldn’t be greater, the chaos and fresh lockdowns in the West compared to the decreasing case numbers and relatively low seriously ill patients across the Indian Subcontinent. The number of fresh cases in Europe as a whole exceeded the cases in US this week, even as India continued to narrow the difference with US in the total number of cases and is poised to overtake US in becoming the World Number One around Diwali.
One of the most interesting things is that if we consider the number of active cases, US has an unassailable lead with 2,671,334 cases and counting, number 2 on the list is India, whose active cases dropped from 8,83,185 last Sunday to 7,95,053 while France, which over took Brazil to reach number 3, had active cases rising from 5,58,566 to 6,96,771 and if the trend continues may overtake India soon. Brazil, which is now on number 4 in the active cases list, also recorded a significant drop in its count.
Another important thing the World realized this week, is that we are neither anywhere closer to knowing how to treat Coronavirus nor developing an effective vaccine. A trial, called “WHO Solidarity Trial” conducted by WHO across 30 countries, 405 hospitals and involving 11,300 people concluded that none of the therapeutic modalities currently being used to treat COVID-19 actually work. Remdesivir, HCQS, Lopinavir and Intereferon failed to demonstrate any significant improvement in patients as compared to patients who received no drugs. A few weeks ago another trial by WHO had led it to conclude that the much touted Plasma Therapy had absolutely no effect on clinical outcome. So, the world actually continues to grope around blindly for an effective cure almost a year into the Pandemic. How little we know about Coronavirus is evident from a report from US that a 13 year old girl in US, tested negative twice for Coronavirus, ended up spreading it to all 11 members of her family who attended a get together with her this week and a 64 year old lady in China after being treated and apparently cured for COVID-19, landed up with swelling in both her eyes with the virus found in her eyes.
Thankfully, in India, our recovery rate has reached 90 percent this week with a sustained drop in the number of active cases over the last fortnight. On Saturday India had 62,212 new cases while 70,816 patients recovered driving the number of active cases down by 9,441. This drop in the number of active cases has been consistent across all States of India, including Uttarakhand. The recovery rate in our State went up from 84.67 percent last week to 87.93 percent this week with the 7 day doubling rate 25 in July, 50 last week now at 92.16 days, which indicates a sustained slowdown of viral spread. Of course, around 100-200 people are still infected in Dehradun every day, so one needs to maintain guard. While the virus may be down at present, it is still present out there. Whether we will witness, as feared, a winter surge, remains to be seen. Till then, it is best to be careful, even as we live our lives to the fullest.
(Dr Nitin Pandey is a Dehradun based ex Indian Air Force doctor, a Pediatrician and an active Social worker.)