- Over 2,000 COVID-19 cases were reported on April 18
- The daily positivity rate has increased from 0.31% to 0.83%
- COVID-19 infection should not be considered as common cold and flu: Expert
New Delhi: For the first time in a month, the daily COVID-19 case count crossed the 2,000 mark and touched at 2,183 fresh cases of COVID-19, nearly double from the previous day when 1,150 cases were reported. A total of 214 deaths have been recorded in the past 24 hours. This, however, includes a backlog of 212 deaths from Kerala. The daily positivity rate, an indicator of the spread of the infection in the population, has increased from 0.31 per cent yesterday to 0.83 per cent today.
Among the cities witnessing a surge in cases is the National Capital, Delhi, which reported 517 new COVID-19 cases. Talking about the spike in cases and the accompanying fears, Dr. Vivek Nangia, Principal Director and Head Pulmonology, Max Hospital, Saket said, “This virus is here to stay with us”. He added,
This virus is not going anywhere, not in the near future. It will just keep coming back to us in different forms. We need to adapt to this virus, mend our ways and need to learn to live with it. As of now, it may appear to be a seemingly mild illness but there would definitely be a small percentage of people who would be developing a serious illness and landing up in hospitals and intensive care units (ICUs) and some of them could even die of this illness.
Resonating Dr Nangia’s views, Dr Rajeev Jayadevan, Co-Chairman, National IMA COVID Task Force said that the illness might seem mild but people who have had Omicron got such severe symptoms that many of them in their 30s and vaccinated required bed rest and some required IV Fluids (Intravenous Fluids). He said,
People need to understand three things – the pandemic has not gone away; reinfections are common – this virus is capable of infecting you N number of times regardless of vaccination; vaccination is good to prevent severe disease but it is not remarkably effective against infections. Now there is emerging data that even if you are vaccinated because your symptoms have either been aborted, you could be carrying the virus in your nose without knowing it and that happens even in unvaccinated people. Because this virus spreads through the air, in indoor spaces, everybody must wear a mask. Without a mask, we could be inadvertently contaminating the air with the virus which may infect a vulnerable person.
Dr Nangia is against the idea of considering the disease caused by COVID-19 as a common cold and flu. He urged taking all COVID precautions and not be complacent. This also applies to children who have started going to school after almost two years and some of them are even testing positive.
We need to educate children about the various precautions to take and ensure schools are also following the appropriate measures in controlling the infection. It is very important for all of us to go in for the vaccination now that it has opened up for everybody at large, said Dr Nangia.
Lastly, Dr Nangia made a clarion call to make wearing a face mask a part of our routine and our attire. The COVID-19 infection not only affects an individual physically but mentally and economically as well and for that, one needs to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour. He said,
There are enough studies to support the use of an N-95 mask. If you are wearing a cloth mask, layer it with a surgical mask. Maintain hand hygiene and social distance at all times. It is essential to nip it in the bud and not allow a fourth wave to come in.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that 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 the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.