Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Practical protection

With rising fresh COVID cases in India, the Union Ministry of health and family welfare has cautioned against complacency and reminded people that the pandemic is not over and advised that it was ‘important to be alert’. As of Saturday, India recorded a total of 20,528 fresh COVID cases which has alarmed health authorities that COVID is still around and believed to be undergoing mutation. The union minister further stressed on the five-fold strategy of Test, Track, Treat, Vaccination and necessity for Adherence to CAB. The spread of coronavirus is facilitated by a number of factors. While some of these factors are driven by the nature of viruses like mutation and creation of variants, there are several human-mediated factors as well, that are very much within our control. Development of vaccines against the coronavirus raised high hopes that the spread of the virus will be greatly contained. The other belief was that a person cured of COVID will not be re-infected with the virus. Both these are misplaced beliefs and may have led to complacency. According to health authorities, COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death. However, since vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing infection, some people who are up to date with the recommended vaccines will still get COVID-19. When people who are vaccinated develop symptoms of COVID-19, they tend to experience less severe symptoms than people who are unvaccinated. Those who have been cured of COVID-19 are still vulnerable since the virus has various mutants. During the height of the pandemic in 2020-21 the virus spread like a wildfire. When the virus was novel to medical science, it went on affecting chunks of the population at a time. During that period, government bodies and health agencies could only think of the most practical and simplest way of advising people to remain indoor and avoid travel. To cut down the transmission of the virus, several governments restricted human and goods movements within and outside of the country. Drawing attention on the current spurt in number of fresh COVID cases, Dr Ambrish Mithal, Chairman, Endocrinology and Diabetes, Max Health Care stated that the reasons why COVID cases are popping up all around is mostly because of the large meetings, as most of the cases are coming to fore after mass gatherings; and people who had escaped COVID earlier are getting it now; many people are getting re-infected. All these points stated by the expert point out to one common observation, the virus has decided to stay among us. With a virus in the close vicinity, it is expected that the frequency of infections ought to rise further if people do not take precautions against it.In states like Nagaland where testing has more or less stopped, it would be advisable if authorities urge on more testing. After lockdown measures were lifted, except for COVID protocols, there has been the advise going around, that anyone with COVID symptoms should self-isolate and in case of severity, then get admitted to hospital. More than two years into the pandemic, health leaders have to pass the message down that there is need to ramp up testing. Since cases are rising and since the virus will be around, and despite people being COVID-fatigued, COVID appropriate behaviours will never be outdated in their effectiveness.

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