By Sumit Saxena
New Delhi, Jun 27 (IANS): “SARS-COV-2 has actually not shown any seasonal pattern up until now, although greater incidence and caseloads are seen in areas with temperature levels listed below 15 degrees Celsius and low humidity. Still its impact in India is considerable provided our substantial population in addition to population density,” said Mrinalini Darswal, doctor and IAS officer, who is currently pursuing doctoral research studies in public health, with a focus on COVID-19 at Harvard University.
With over 5 lakh cases, the very first wave is still continuing in India, and unless seasons turn a cycle, it is tough to call SARS-COV-2 routine, Darswal added.
here are excerpts of her special chat with IANS:
Q: Do you think the first wave of viral infection in India is over after crossing 5 lakh cases? Do you anticipate a 2nd wave of infection? Professionals have explained the 2nd wave of viral infection in China and South Korea?
A: Provided the variety of cases which continue to rise, the very first wave is continuing. Typically infections can be found in waves like cold and influenza go to every fall and winter and abate in summers. SARS-COV-2 has actually not shown any seasonal pattern so far, although greater incidence and caseloads are seen in locations with temperature levels listed below 15 degrees Celsius and low humidity. Still its effect in India is substantial offered our huge population as well as population density. Unless seasons turn a full circle, we might not be able to term SARS-COV-2 as periodic.
Provided its pattern, even after through rigorous public health determines the existing wave subsides, it might lurk in some pockets and reemerge as we lower our guard, as we have seen in China and South Korea. These are not 2nd seasonal waves but renewal of infection from the dormant carriers in the neighborhood. This will remain a hazard till we have the ability to inoculate everyone in all states, along with nations. In a pandemic we are safe only when everyone else is safe too.
COVID19 is not going to entirely vanish. Like HIV, we shall find out to deal with it and also include it through vaccines and drugs, ideally soon.
Till then we require to be really watchful versus capturing the infection and adopt preventive behavior like using masks, preserving social distancing, hand washing, avoidance of crowds etc. with military discipline.
Q: India is one of hardest hit countries by Covid-19
A: COVID19 does have rapid development, i.e. the case load doubles in a specific period. There are two things related to a rapid development- a growth rate and a doubling time.
ICMR reports a development rate of 5 percent for the pandemic in India, and the doubling time for this rate would be around 14 days. But we observe it is not same for all parts of India. The pandemic is spreading more viciously in urban locations with high population densities, and this truth permits us to change our action, focus our energies and assign our resources carefully to where these are required most. Currently our focus are big cities.
The factor for sharp rise is the behavior of the infection, which jumps from individual to individual through close contact; habits of the people after relaxation of lockdown, i.e. not comprehending the need for taking complete precautions and being cavalier about the disease; and also an increase in testing.
Q: How soon do you anticipate this extraordinary rise in numbers to decrease?
A: Virus spreads from person to person and is understood to spread out from asymptomatic persons. Likewise, there are clear patterns in intensity of disease, i.e. those who are old or already sick are likely to get extreme disease, require luxury medical care and are likewise likely to pass away more.
The fool-proof strategy due to this fact is avoiding the contaminated people from spreading the health problem to more susceptible individuals. Limitation on mobility of old individuals, and also those with co-morbidities is encouraged. If they have to essentially head out, say they need to work for a livelihood, appropriate precautions like using masks, avoiding crowds, and keeping social distancing is desired. Periodic testing is necessary.
We can quickly recognize those with symptoms medically and proceed to isolate them either through quarantine or hospitalization. It is individuals who have the infection however do not show symptoms who position the threat for big spread inadvertently. There is just one way to recognize such individuals and isolate them-testing. I more than happy that testing has actually emerged as the frontline method of the government for containment of pandemic.
Unless our efforts at detection through screening, tracing and isolation are universal and strict, we may not see the progression to crest. As we see in the U.S.A., the cases are surging even after half a year of familiarity with the pandemic, just due to bipartisan actions and rejection of people to follow preventative measures.
Q: Any idea changes in policy to contain the spread of coronavirus in India?
A: The Federal government of India has actually shown immense wisdom in its policy for containment. Countless lives were saved by prompt and early lockdown. We have understood the importance of screening, and our contact tracing even in remotest locations was extremely reliable, done through firms of town level health workers. Our history of combating with contagious diseases and our public health infrastructure has actually stood us in good stead here. We have likewise leveraged technology like Arogya Setu App for risk mapping.
The gap has actually emerged in preparation of private states in preparing their health facilities for surges, which provided worldwide trends, were unavoidable.