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Coronavirus Outbreak: Things We Have Learned From The COVID-19 Pandemic

9 months since it first broke in china, as we continue to struggle with COVID-19, here are few things which the pandemic has taught the world

Coronavirus Outbreak: Things We Have Learned From The COVID-19 Pandemic
Highlights
  • India has so far reported more than 6.07 million coronavirus cases
  • Experts talk about the lessons learnt from COVID-19 pandemic
  • From Handwashing to nutrition all are in focus during this outbreak: Expert

New Delhi: Year 2020 started with the world learning about the new virus called novel coronavirus or SARS-COV2, when China raised an alarm about a contagious disease being caused by a new strain of Coronavirus. What started back in December in just one region – Wuhan in China with mere few cases has today spread to more than 213 countries and territories around the world and has infected over 33.1 million people. India, which is the second worst-hit country after the United States, has so far reported more than 6.07 million coronavirus cases, according to the data by the health ministry as of September 27.

COVID-19 is a mega-pandemic, which most people in the world have never seen in their lifetime. No other outbreak, even if it was called a pandemic by the World Health Organization, has affected as many people and as many countries as this one has, since the 1918 Flu pandemic.

COVID-19 is a Zoonotic disease, one which normally spreads from animals to humans. Zoonoses can spread through direct contact between animals and humans from food, water or the environment.  While this pandemic is caused by a virus, Zoonotic disease could also be caused by bacteria, parasites, and fungi. The earlier variants of this virus were responsible for outbreaks like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012.

While the world continues to learn more and more about this new Coronavirus with each passing day, here are the things this pandemic has taught us so far:

Maintaining A Good Hygiene Is Crucial: The reaffirmation of the importance of hand washing is one of the biggest takeaways of the covid-19 crisis. From the very beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the one measure which the world knows of as an effective preventive measure for this highly contagious disease, is  washing hands regularly with soap or sanitiser and water.

Palli Thordarson, a professor at the School of Chemistry at the University of New South Wales, Australia, took to social media to explain the molecular chemistry behind the logic of washing hands. The professor in a series of tweets that have got more than 78,000 views and likes, explained that the virus is a self-assembled nanoparticle in which the weakest link in the lipid (fatty) bilayer. He said,

When we wash hands with soap, it dissolves the fat membrane and the virus falls apart like a house of cards and dies – or rather, we should say it becomes inactive as viruses aren’t really alive.

Professor Thordarson further added that human skin is an ideal surface for a virus. He adds,

It is organic and the proteins and fatty acids in the dead cells on the surface interact with the virus and from hands, it can reach your face if you touch it and from the face it can enter in your eyes, nose and mouth. So the virus can get in…and voila! You get infected. That is why killing the virus from your hands become an utmost important step.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: Experts Guide On “How To Wash Hands Properly” And Why It Is So Crucial

Lockdown And Social Distancing Is Important: Explaining the impact of the virus and why lockdown or social distancing at this crucial time has become the only survival option, an expert from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said,

Think of your health care system as one car, which can only accommodate a certain number of people at once. What happens, if there is an emergency and you want to accommodate 100 people in one car, you won’t be able to do it, as a result, people will have to wait for their chance or their turn to ride. Similarly, if COVID-19 spreads at the current rate and infect thousands of more people at once there will be a shortage of hospital beds, hospital facilities for example ventilators and other equipment which are needed. To avoid this strain lockdowns help.

Highlighting the importance of social distancing and that people should learn to live with these new ways for longer duration of time, Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman, Medanta said,

Coronavirus has an R-O factor 3 attached to it, which means one infected person will pass on the virus to three other people, they will infect 9 other people, which further will infect 27 and the number will go on. Secondly, majority of coronavirus cases in India are asymptomatic, which means the infected person doesn’t exhibit any symptoms of the disease. So, in such a scenario, if the infected person continues to socialise the way he was doing before the pandemic then things will get worse. He will infect more and more people and the chain will continue, so social distancing works as a protective gear to this virus.

Also Read: How To Take Care Of Mental Health Among Children During Coronavirus Pandemic And The Lockdown

Importance of Coexisting With Planet Earth: If there is one lesson that is staring human race in the face it is the fact that human beings have really destroyed the equilibrium of planet earth. Climate experts have been warning about the threats of threat to the environment and climate change for some time but they have largely been ignored. When the lockdown took place, and immediately the positive signs of reduced human activity manifested itself  in clean  blue skies, the fresher air and cleaner water in rivers, resurfacing of dolphins from areas they had disappeared from, and even rapid healing of the depleting ozone layer. It was a sign of how much damage man was doing to life on earth.

According to the United Nations, biodiversity involves 8 million plant and animal species, the ecosystems that house them, and the genetic diversity among them. In the last 150 years, the live coral reef cover has been reduced by half. Within the next 10 years, one out of every four known species may have been wiped off the planet. Moreover, it would take 1.6 Earths to meet the demands that humans make on nature each year.

Dr Naresh Trehan says,

This is a wake-up call. Viruses are going to get more and more prevalent. The environment is the one that has to actually neutralise these things that are happening around us. If we learn our lesson well and reset our priorities, we will be able to not only live in a better world but we will be much better prepared for our environmental dangers.

Further stressing on learning from the coronavirus pandemic, Dr Trehan said, this is a great lesson to learn. If we forget it in a short period, we will be suffering again. He added,

I think that if each one of us makes sure that we participate in this war, we will neutralise the present situation and as we move forward, we have to neutralise all the other things that have enabled our life to reach this stage.

India’s Nutrition Problem Is Huge And There Is An Urgent Need To Tackle It: The 1.3 billion people of India are currently fighting the dual battle – one against coronavirus pandemic and second against hunger and undernutrition. Experts believe that the pandemic has worsened the situation for India when it comes to nutrition and now it is no more just a fight against coronavirus but also a crisis in terms of undernutrition and malnutrition.

Also Read: Maharashtra’s Palghar Is Fighting A Dual Battle – Malnutrition and COVID-19

Dr. Antaryami Dash, Head, Nutrition from NGO Save the Children says that India’s nutritional status wasn’t great even before the pandemic. He adds,

Much-much before coronavirus time, in 1992, the average food deficit in kilocalories per person per day in India was 165, as per the Food and Agriculture Organisation. After 24 years, in 2016, India’s food deficit has reduced from 165 to 109, whereas the world’S reduced it from 172 to 88. These figures highlight a grim reality – it shows while the other countries managed to bring down the food deficit substantially, India somehow has not managed to bring down the deficit well. Food deficit is the proxy indicator which talks about how much additional kilocalories a nation needs to uplift the undernourished population. The high deficit for any country is not good. We know the pandemic has disturbed the services and livelihoodS, we can very well say that coronavirus will have a long-term impact on India’s nutrition. If we look at the current scenario, according to the  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, somewhere around 235 million people in India are facing insufficient food intake. As per the statistics, due to COVID, since the schools are shut, approximately 90 million children are missing out on meals at school in India, which is considered by these household the most nutritious meal. So, it is not anymore a fight against COVID, it is battle against undernutrition and malnutrition as well.

Also Read: Poshan Maah 2020: Why Protecting Health And Nutrition Rights Of Children During COVID-19 Is Important For India, Experts Speak

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

26,27,61,966Cases
22,35,18,265Active
3,40,28,506Recovered
52,15,195Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 196 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 26,27,61,966 and 52,15,195 have died; 22,35,18,265 are active cases and 3,40,28,506 have recovered as on December 1, 2021 at 3:56 am.

India

3,45,96,776 8,954Cases
99,0231,520Active
3,40,28,506 10,207Recovered
4,69,247 267Deaths
In India, there are 3,45,96,776 confirmed cases including 4,69,247 deaths. The number of active cases is 99,023 and 3,40,28,506 have recovered as on December 1, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,35,658 678

11,226 299

64,83,435 942

1,40,997 35

Kerala

51,41,814 4,723

44,314 824

50,57,368 5,370

40,132 177

Karnataka

29,96,148 291

6,445 462

29,51,492 745

38,211 8

Tamil Nadu

27,26,917 720

8,244 47

26,82,192 758

36,481 9

Andhra Pradesh

20,72,909 184

2,149 47

20,56,318 134

14,442 3

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,399 12

89 3

16,87,399 8

22,911 1

West Bengal

16,16,083 705

7,731 2

15,88,866 694

19,486 13

Delhi

14,40,934 34

287 2

14,15,549 32

25,098

Odisha

10,49,108 228

2,188 23

10,38,509 203

8,411 2

Chhattisgarh

10,06,813 34

318 0

9,92,902 34

13,593

Rajasthan

9,54,785 15

193 6

9,45,637 9

8,955

Gujarat

8,27,475 40

275 13

8,17,108 27

10,092

Madhya Pradesh

7,93,170 20

119 7

7,82,523 27

10,528

Haryana

7,71,709 17

163 2

7,61,492 19

10,054

Bihar

7,26,223 4

36 3

7,16,524 7

9,663

Telangana

6,75,994 196

3,591 10

6,68,411 184

3,992 2

Assam

6,16,852 144

2,625 30

6,08,124 109

6,103 5

Punjab

6,03,279 21

325 4

5,86,352 22

16,602 3

Jharkhand

3,49,244 12

98 3

3,44,006 9

5,140

Uttarakhand

3,44,255 28

141 9

3,36,706 19

7,408

Jammu And Kashmir

3,36,852 171

1,625 1

3,30,751 172

4,476

Himachal Pradesh

2,27,195 102

834 10

2,22,513 91

3,848 1

Goa

1,78,928 38

284 8

1,75,260 30

3,384

Mizoram

1,35,175 365

3,751 54

1,30,927 415

497 4

Puducherry

1,28,924 31

284 12

1,26,768 43

1,872

Manipur

1,25,205 36

649 6

1,22,579 40

1,977 2

Tripura

84,805 14

81 3

83,900 10

824 1

Meghalaya

84,480 19

294 9

82,713 9

1,473 1

Chandigarh

65,465 9

65 7

64,580 2

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,276 3

35 0

54,961 3

280

Sikkim

32,242 9

124 3

31,715 6

403

Nagaland

32,122 13

133 7

31,293 20

696

Ladakh

21,578 38

276 26

21,088 12

214

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,683

1 0

10,678

4

Lakshadweep

10,394

24 0

10,319

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,683

6 2

7,548 2

129

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