‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort put in the last 17 months, it refuses to go away. While the world is barely done with the first wave, the 2nd wave of coronavirus has already arrived, and the 3rd wave of coronavirus is waiting in ambush, given the higher number of flowing viruses due to its mutations and new variants.
If you are lucky enough to be healthy in COVID-haunted Delhi and Mumbai, life feels strangely disconnected. There’s an impromptu lockdown. The normally noisy city is silent except for the sounds of birds, stray dogs, and the sirens of police patroling jeeps and medical ambulances.
According to WHO, as of 1st May 2021, there have been about 150,989,419 confirmed cases including 3,173,576 deaths worldwide.
The world has been fighting tooth and nail to defeat the coronavirus with relevant measures such as Partial or total lockdowns, Safety and precautionary measures and Appropriate treatments, but it still seems difficult to be nailed down; and despite many countries claiming to have flattened the curve, it is not all that true. The cases are spiking and the numbers are increasing by the day.
People are pleading for help as they find hospital beds and life-saving medicines scarce. Friends and acquaintances want to know where they can get an oxygen concentrator for the home. In one way or another, everyone is battling the virus. Perhaps, residents of Mumbai feel less abandoned; certainly, this city seems to have turned a corner in the past few months.
Mumbai has established war rooms in each municipal ward, manned by public-school teachers, to triage patients and tell them where to go and what to do. While it took too long to increase the number of hospital beds, at least the local government has been allotting these beds to the neediest.
As the second and the third wave become inevitable, the curve of old symptoms of dry cough, continuous sneezing, loss of smell, fever, headache, etc gets further higher up with the addition of new symptoms consisting of diarrhea, conjunctivitis, chest pain and abdominal pain due to mutations of the virus and the consequent variants.
With complete cure still a far cry, the questions that come to the mind at such a time range from, how can the world save itself from coming into the grip of the second wave to getting the right treatment and keeping ourselves mentally and physically fit at this time and until we get rid of this virus completely?
Present Situation-Hope prevails!
Underfunded and understaffed governments such as India simply have no spare capacity to serve their citizens when disaster strikes. We can’t hope for the private sector to do so; only the center can afford to carry this vital excess capacity or build it up at short notice.
Delhi has only 5,000 usable ICU beds for its roughly 20 million citizens, and less than a dozen were free on April 30, according to the official dashboard. In UP, the needs of hundreds and thousands of patients can be met with 5 hospitals and one doctor.
And citizens need more than the essentials. Perhaps, we shouldn’t be surprised. Perhaps, we shouldn’t have expected more of the notoriously fragile Indian state. There’s no escaping the fundamental flaw of 21st century India: It is one of the world’s largest economies, determined and ambitious, and its government has vast resources. But it is also, still, a poor country, with a per capita income one-fifth of China’s. The state’s capabilities are spread truly thinly across India’s billion-plus people.
Ministers, bureaucrats and even government lawyers insist that there is no shortage of oxygen or hospital beds, although everyone can see that there is. Once again, normal citizens feel as if they’ve been abandoned by our government. Even in the face of an unprecedented emergency, state and central officials seem more interested in point-scoring and blame-shifting than in cooperation.
At the time of the first wave of the pandemic, whatever the panicking doctors and nurses could do at their end, they did. They spread awareness about the corona, urging people not to get worried. Guidelines and instructions to handle the virus were exchanged freely on Whatsapp, Facebook, and other social media sites. Around the world, biologists and doctors got busy in the laboratories to find a vaccine to tackle this menace. And in the meantime, the patients were advised to follow certain guidelines in times of emergency like:
Drinking hot water with lime and honey on as soon as one felt the slightest symptom of the virus.
Taking hot showers.
Boosting immunity by eating meals high in vitamin C and high pH levels like lemon, lime, avocado, garlic, mango, tangerine, pineapple, tamarind, gooseberry, dandelion, orange, etc (since pH level of coronavirus varies from 5.5 to 8.5, the pH level of natural alkaline food mentioned above are higher than that of the virus, and range between 8.2 and 22.7 pH). Some other natural immunity boosters like the Indian curry spices consisting of turmeric, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, etc. that fight infections also at the same time, became popular immunity boosters.
Keeping oneself warm.
Taking paracetamols for fever.
Good handwashing, maintaining personal hygiene, social distancing, wearing a mask, gloves, sanitizing hands, clothes, bed linens, and home/office from time to time.
Keeping a stock of essential items like Kleenex, paracetamols, Vicks vaporub, a humidifier, mucus thinning cough medicine, soups, fluids and water, sanitizers, a prescription healer in case of asthma, handy.
Staying at home and avoiding travel, since COVID-19 is the friend of the globetrotters. Following destination country as well as their own country’s protocols like taking tests (consisting of CT-scan, RT, serology, swab tests etc.) and carrying reports/ quarantining in hotels and homes after the travel in both the countries (boarding and arrival) etc.
But despite the precautions and treatments if the temperature persisted or their existing conditions like lung infection, diabetes, blood pressure, etc. (as in the case of aged people) worsened their symptoms, they were advised to get immediate hospitalization.
As corona hung on a bit too much, people started to adopt a positive outlook and stopped fearing the virus. They started to look at the sunny side. Dieticians listed immunity-boosting food items, urging people to add those to their daily meals. They started to get involved in physical activities like workouts and yoga at home, as gyms, swimming and other outdoor activities became inaccessible. And those with conditions like BP, diabetes, etc continued with mild exercises at home.
Temperature reading machines came into circulation with people allowing visitors to enter the residential buildings and other places after a thorough check-up (consisting of temperature and oxygen saturation levels) and proper sanitization. Temperature reading gates were installed at important places like airports, etc.
By then, vaccines had been formulated and people started to take the jabs.
Managing the additional symptoms, to surviving the 2nd wave of Corona
Despite all possible efforts, and a positive outlook, we have still not succeeded over corona due to reasons such as our refusal to completely cooperate in the use of corona shields, cutting corners with precautions, failure of the healthcare system and proper infrastructure, including scarcity of beds in hospitals, short supply of vaccines, health care workers and oxygen cylinders for corona patients, some of which we already discussed earlier. And as such, the second wave couldn’t be stopped from coming in along with a new batch of symptoms like chest pain, diarrhea, abdominal pain, etc. and which needs special management.
Luckily, to help the shortage of oxygen ventilators a new kind of chest physiotherapy treatment has been doing rounds in Vedanta hospital, India, where they continuously beat the chest and the back of the patient simultaneously for some time to raise the oxygen saturation level to its required level of 97 (any count below this level is detrimental to Corona cure). And they have been quite successful. check out this video.
Immediate diagnosis of symptoms through tests and their cure is one thing, but sustaining this pandemic till a complete cure is found is a much bigger task. Unemployment and rising expenses are far greater issues, and by taking proper care of the mental and physical health, one can survive in the long run and till this pandemic continues.
A total of 1,011457,859 vaccine doses have been administered so far, yet the world is grappling to get the virus into its hold.
While Sputnik V, Covishield, Covaxin, Remdesivir, Astra/Zeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines are most popular in India; in America, Moderna, Janssen and Pfizer-BioNTech, are topping the list (the last one is the most sought-after in most of the countries as well) and they are all effective and safe to take except that they might occasionally have side-effects like mild fever, rashes, and pain in the area of the jab, etc. And, in case, these side effects persist for more than 24 hrs, the affected are advised to immediately consult the doctor. Further, if they eat vitamin C-rich food and avoid going empty stomach, drinking caffeinated beverages and alcohol for the jab, they can prevent any side effects of the vaccine.
Efficacy/Risks of the vaccines
According to WHO, research on its total efficacy is still going on, but the jabs can guarantee a stronger immunity and prevention from COVID-19 for a long period.
An earlier report suggested that about six people had died after the vaccine, which is a very small number from the total population of 150 crore people. Only people who have a severe allergic history to any of the components of the vaccine should not get vaccinated. It is safe for even HIV patients, pregnant and lactating women otherwise.
A total of three shots of the same vaccine brand are recommended within three months. And you will be fully vaccinated after 2 weeks. But the shortage of vaccines and laziness of people has slowed the pace of the vaccine drive, and it will be more than 3 years for India to get vaccinated completely ( as per a recent report in India Today).
Taking care of your health in such challenging times and keeping busy
Due to unemployment, slashed salaries, unpaid bills, and fear of the uncertainty of the pandemic, people have started to suffer from depression in 2nd wave of the corona.
Physical activity and relaxation techniques can be valuable tools to help you remain calm and protect your health during this time. WHO recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both. Indoor workouts and yoga can also help you stay in great shape and also keep your mind calm in these testing times. Meditation will also help to a great extent. Reading mythological and spiritual books can also help develop a positive attitude. Watching movies, motivational videos, soothing music, and other entertaining and meaningful videos on the net are some other options, which can help you stay engaged and happy.
Cultivating new or reviving old hobbies like singing, music, dancing, painting, cooking, learning a new language, etc. will be a great escape from boredom and also help learn new skills. If you have contemplated doing something but didn’t get the time, you can do it now. This way, you will keep yourself engaged, acquire new skills and keep depression away.
A diet rich in immunity-boosting ingredients will go a long way in building up immunity to fight the second and subsequent pandemic if any. So, the need of the hour is to make lifestyle changes and make it more holistic. Adopting healthy eating habits at this time will not just help to build immunity but also stay healthy even otherwise in the long run. Sleep well and relax as much and spend quality time with the loved ones by taking advantage of the lockdown, because laughter is the best medicine.
Connect more with social media
Only social media has emerged as a winner with its low cost and a high-reach nature. By continuing to read, and spreading awareness about updates in corona to friends and family by networking on social media platforms, people can take better care of themselves. And if they are enterprising, social media can generate decent revenue as well. Start your channel, make some tutorial videos on teaching, cooking, etc. and start earning money from home.
There are a lot of government-initiated helplines, do not hesitate to reach out to them in times of pandemic-related emergency. Click here for numbers
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