16 November 2020
As we enter the end of the first year of the pandemic, many countries are witnessing a second wave. With the number of cases on the rise in tricity, the second wave is proving to be more severe than the first one. There is a need to take all precautions in view of the same.
Dr. Parvinder Chawla, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine said, “At our Flu Clinic at Fortis Hospital Mohali, the weekly footfalls had shown a steady decline over the last few weeks from the maximum of 262 in the second week of September. The footfalls, after falling to 47 in the last week of October, have started rising again in November. The proportion of SARS-CoV-2 results reported positive has also shown a concomitant rise.”
Dr Chawla said, “80% of the people who catch this infection have an asymptomatic or mild infection not requiring hospitalization. 20 % have moderate to severe infection requiring hospitalization. Secondly, we have seen that it is the elderly and those with high-risk medical conditions who are more vulnerable and tend to comprise the 20% group. While the 80% group contributes more to the spread of infection, the 20% group contributes more towards the hospital and ICU occupancy and death.”
Dr Chawla added, “The only way we can prevent a second peak from happening without having to resort to another lockdown and its economic fallout is by ensuring that those falling in the 80% bucket become the ring of protection rather than the source of spread to those falling in the 20% bucket.”
This can be done by a three-step approach: 1) Self-protection: adhering to the principles of washing-masking and physical-distancing 2) Self-isolation: isolating oneself at the earliest in case one develops any symptom like fever / cough / sore-throat and 3) Reverse-quarantine: which means that the elderly and the high risk vulnerable individuals are actively prevented from catching the infection.
“Winters anyways are known to be harsh and unforgiving for the elders. This winter is going to be especially risky for those with compromised health. Staying indoors in enclosed spaces is very likely to enhance the virus transmission from one person to another. The only thing that can work in the stage of community transmission is community action, each individual’s action”, the doctor said.
Preventing the second peak will therefore need to be individual and family responsibility, with the mantra being ‘Self-protection, Self-isolation and Reverse-quarantine’, she added.