New Delhi: As India battles a huge surge in coronavirus cases, what experts are calling a second wave, All India Institute of Medical Sciences’ (AIIMS) director Dr Randeep Guleria urges people to get back to basics and follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.
In last 24-hour, India reported the world’s biggest-ever daily surge with 3.14 lakh new cases and 2,104 deaths since April 20 (Wednesday). The fresh surge surpasses the previous highest one-day rise in the world of 2,97,430 cases posted by the United States in January, news agency Reuters reported. Over 2 lakh infections are being recorded everyday since April 15. The second wave is yet to peak, says centre, and experts are not sure when the cases will decline.
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Speaking to NDTV, the chief of India’s premier medical science institute has recommended four key steps to battle the rampaging second wave of COVID-19:
Second waves of pandemics have always been more dangerous historically. We should have been more alert. We knew there are variants (of Covid-19) circulating in the world. It was only a matter of time until the strains are found in India…We got complacent.
To cope up with the sudden surge, Dr Guleria said the only way forward is the creation of containment zones, banning of crowds, and boosting vaccination. He said,
We have to do 3-4 things to stop the infection from spreading. We must create a strict containment zone in the most affected areas with testing, tracking, and treatment. Secondly, we must ban crowding. Third, we must boost vaccination.
Recommending authorities to bring back the colour-coded system as per the COVID cases rate, the model which was followed earlier, he said,
Like how we earlier divided the country into red, green, orange zones, we must do that again.
According to the health ministry division last year, a green zone area or district was where there were zero confirmed cases of coronavirus in the last 21 days. Whereas Red Zones Or Hotspot Districts were areas with several active cases, high doubling rate of confirmed cases and Orange Zones were those areas which are neither red or green.
The AIIMS chief also said we need to prepare our health structure; we need to get more beds and oxygen points. Commenting on India reporting more than 2 lakh cases from past few days, Dr Guleria added,
If we go back to the pandemic 100 years ago, the second wave was more dangerous. Even now, people started going out and now we are seeing a surge.
Talking about the use of Remdisivir, a drug that is increasingly being seen to have key role in treating critical cases of COVID-19, Dr Guleria said it may reduce hospitalisation but won’t help reduce mortality. He added,
Remdesivir is an antiviral drug and was developed for Ebola. The first paper in China showed it had no effect on COVID-19. Subsequently studies showed, it could reduce hospitalisation, but could nothing about mortality. As of now, we don’t have a good antiviral drug. We don’t have any good treatment for COVID.
Dr Guleria called for a “multipronged attack” to contain the virus. He said,
There is a need to go back to all the strategies that we were following six-seven months ago to decrease the number of cases – we need to mask up, we need to follow social distancing and we need to maintain hand hygiene.
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 (Water, Sanitation 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 pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.