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War on Corona; Janta Curfew  may be the effective weapon!

War on Corona; Janta Curfew  may be the effective weapon!



Recent news of Singer Kanika Kapoor having mingled with a large number of important persons despite her history of foreign travel and symptoms of infection with Corona raised many eyebrows and instilled fears among her audiences. This was avoidable, since India is in the grip of pandemic of a treacherous virus that doesn’t respect geographical boundaries, religion, caste, gender or age. It is not afraid of rich and mighty and does not respond to drugs or vaccines either. In such a scenario, it’s hard to overstate the importance of individual isolation and ‘Mass quarantine’ of the community.  Transmission of the virus can happen before symptoms set in. With carriers hard to detect, social distancing — staying home, in essence — is the single most effective means of holding back the spread, as well as preventing hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. India has set an example by observing voluntary lockdown across the nation. China has done it with courage, tenacity and resilience; India can do it. Some people say china’s approach has been extremely restrictive, draconian and regressive and India with its diverse economies, demographics and sociologies may not be free to curb individual freedom. But to save millions of people from sickness and deaths and to prevent economic disaster, won’t it better to put public health above politics of any kind?  In desperate times, desperate measures become necessary! On Sunday March 22, people accepted ‘house arrest’ as a civic duty, while trading their freedom with greater public good through ‘Mass Quarantine’.  Normally quarantine is a restriction on the movement of the people who have been exposed to a communicable disease.  Mass quarantine on the other hand is the term used in connection with restricting the movement of entire healthy population so as to break the cycle of spread of the virus in the community.

Corona Virus

World Health Organization (WHO)  chose the name COVID-19 to reflect the type of virus and the month it was first detected — "COVI" for corona virus, "D" for December, and "19" for 2019. It is believed to have originated in the Wuhan region of China, spreading rapidly on a global scale, but the panic it caused spread even faster. Virus’s incubation period is between 1 and 14 days, but it’s most commonly believed to be around five days. It can cause symptoms ranging from the common cold, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and difficult breathing to more serious illnesses, such as pneumonia, kidney failure, and death. Some persons may be carriers, but show no symptoms.

 WHO declared on February 28 that “our greatest enemy right now is not the virus itself, it’s fear, rumors, and stigma. And our greatest assets are facts, reason, and solidarity.” Indian Prime Minister recently advised to combat it with resolve and restraint and start with voluntary home quarantine. The pandemic is going to test us in many ways. How much empathy do we have towards the marginalized? Do we truly care about our neighbors? It will test how we treat the elderly, the healthcare workers, the domestic workers, the daily wage earners, the homeless. 

How to Protect From the Corona?

It spreads through respiratory droplets or environmental contact. New research found that it also spreads by fecal-oral transmission. So, washing your hands frequently with soap and water especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing is one of the most effective ways to avoid becoming infected. You may also want to wash your hands after spending time in community spaces, such as public transport, workplaces, and schools. Sanitizer is a poor substitute but can still be useful as long as it has alcohol content over 60 percent. Cough into your elbow and not your hands. Stay away by six feet from those who are infected. They also recommend “active disinfection,” ensuring that any surfaces you touch are regularly disinfected.  The top priority, is to ensure you’re protecting your face. Older adults and people with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease are at higher risk of complications from COVID. WHO estimates the mortality rate for corona at around 3.4 percent globally?

The union health ministry has limited facility of testing the swabs from infected or suspected patients. Even meeting the demands of international travelers as well for those who might have come in their contact or with other infected people is a challenge for labs of government hospitals. This testing facility is only available at the government-accredited centers as of now, though talk of involving private facilities is on. As of now, with about three hundred positive cases, India’s healthcare system has already shown its fragility. However, this low number may be because of low, inadequate testing and should not give rise to any complacency in prevention. What if the number of undetected cases is actually higher, but not reported for testing?  There is a need to urgently scale-up aggressive measures to detect and combat COVID-19 on a larger scale, touching the whole community! Home quarantining of entire population may lead to victory! Else it can lead to widespread disease, deaths and economic ruin. The longer the pandemic lasts, the greater the risk that the sharp downturn morphs into a financial crisis with some companies triggering a chain of defaults, The  daily wagers, professionals, businesses, factories as well services sector, is poised to be the hit hard.

Surgical masks are for people with disease symptoms like cough, cold, fever and difficulty in breathing and for people suspected of carrying the virus. Healthy people without symptoms should not wear a face mask. Don’t go for test unless it is a medical necessity, since there’s a shortage of testing facility for the COVID-19 in the country. As coronavirus sweeps across the globe, shutting down countries and sealing borders, scientists from Oxford University have developed a rapid testing technology for coronavirus, which is capable of giving results in just half an hour – over three times faster than the current method. It uses a simple colour change to identify the presence of the virus. A positive sample changes from pink to yellow. This may be available in due course.

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