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Kovid Korner

Dr Nitin Pandey
Dehradun, 10 Oct: As the Pandemic races across the globe, India seems to be catching up with the US, just around 9 lakhs short of the US total, leaving Brazil far behind, in the total number of cases, in contrast to which, if we consider the number of active cases, US with 2,611,530 active cases has an unbeatable lead over India with just 8,83,151 cases.
Interestingly, France has overtaken Brazil to reach number 3 in the active cases list with 558,566 active cases against 473,903 active cases in Brazil. While US has still to reach it’s surge peak in the Primary wave of the Pandemic, Europe is struggling with the Second Wave, while India apparently has peaked the Primary Wave with the number of active cases declining over the entire last 3 weeks.
A major Computer simulation study done by Edinburgh University in UK, few days ago, concluded that while lockdowns protect hospitals from being overrun, they also prolong the Pandemic and prevent the build-up of herd immunity. All possible lockdown scenarios were examined and each one of them concluded that Lockdowns merely postpone deaths and in some cases result in more long term deaths. The study, supported by over 9000 doctors and experts, concluded that the way out of the Pandemic, other than that of an effective vaccine which can be rolled out in the next 6 months, is “herd immunity, which is when enough people in the population are infected, so that the virus cannot spread. We need to focus on protecting older people, who are going to be affected by the coronavirus, rather than focusing on people who aren’t.  Lockdowns prevent herd immunity and the virus bounces back as soon as lockdown measures are lifted, infecting more vulnerable
populations and resulting in more deaths, but later”. The authors called for older age groups to be protected while the rest of the society returns to normal to build up immunity.
Indian figures continue to be encouraging with the number of recoveries exceeding the number of new cases leading to a recovery rate of a whooping 85.5%, while the death rate also fell marginally from 1.56% to 1.5%. On Saturday India recorded 82,753 recoveries against 73,272 new cases, with just 8,83,185 active cases. Almost all Indian states, including Uttarakhand, reported a similar trend. An interesting survey by
Linkedin revealed that 2 out of 5 Indian professionals were suffering from stress and anxiety due to pandemic stress and remote work burnout.  Job uncertainty, financial instability and bleak company outlook have left as many as 51% professionals anxious.  41% felt that the progress in their careers had slowed down while 37% felt that the Pandemic was harming their work-life balance.
In Uttarakhand recovery rate was a shade below the National rate at 84.67%, with 1239 recoveries as compared to 704 new cases on Friday.
Dehradun had 581 recoveries and 242 new cases. The 7 day doubling rate has increased from around 25  in July to 50 in October, which indicates slowing down of spread of COVID-19. That being said, it is imperative for each one of us to keep our own protection up, statistics is just numbers but even if one of them is our loved one, it could be a tragedy. Remember protecting ourselves is upto us, treating is upto the medical infrastructure, Government cannot protect us from the virus, only we can. In a recent study it was revealed that the virus can stay on skin alive for upto 8 hours, hence the
importance of hand washing can never be underestimated. The coming months of festivals can turn out to be  super spreader, if we are not careful. Green light by the Uttarakhand government for holding public events during the festivals, if not followed by strict implementation of social distancing and wearing of masks can be disastrous. How these measures will be implemented in Dusshera and Diwali is something which makes one worry.