New Delhi: Two years ago, on March 11, the World Health Organization had declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic, an announcement that changed all aspects of life for everyone across the globe. Today, two years down the line, we are still trying to get back to normal life while simultaneously keeping up with the ‘new normal’. While the cases have dipped significantly following the third wave in India, WHO has warned on several occasions that the pandemic is ‘far from over.’
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Chief insists that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t finished with us and the highly-transmissible omicron variant has shown that “any feeling of safety can change in a moment.”
Depending on where you live, it might feel like the COVID-19 pandemic is almost over, or, it might feel like it is at its worst. But wherever you live, COVID isn’t finished with us. We know this virus will continue to evolve, but we are not defenseless. We have the tools to prevent this disease, test for it and to treat it, Dr Tedros said.
Dr Sumit Tondon, Head of Pulmonology in Yashoda Hospital, NCR, tells NDTV that going forward, we need to ensure the focus on vaccination remains intact.
We do see all of our key indicators declining, it makes me feel optimistic. If you compare the second and the third wave in India, there was a massive difference. Be it in the nature of infection, the variant, status of vaccinations and of course, the mortality rate. Vaccinations are there to protect you from severe disease and hospitalisations, and with the Omicron variant, we saw that it did its job. Now, going forward, we need to ensure the focus on vaccination remains intact and those with comorbidities take their booster or precaution dose before we hear of a new variant emerging, which it will. WHO and other medical experts have warned that Omicron was not the last variant and I believe that to be true. We just need to focus on what we can do on our end to protect us and those around us and according to me vaccination is the answer.
Two years of COVID-19 also disrupted mental health for millions of people from all walks of life. As per a report by WHO, the pandemic and the restrictions enforced to curtail it, such as lockdowns and enforced social distancing, had a profound effect on mental health, with a surge of people suffering from loneliness, anxiety and depression.
One in three adults suffered psychological stress at the onset of the pandemic, the report added.
Dr Namrata Chuhan, Psychologist since nearly 2 decades, says that going forward, we need to promote mental health and wellbeing.
It took a pandemic for most people in India to take mental health seriously. When people who had never felt anxious or depressed before, started having these feelings during the lockdowns, it made them realise the importance of mental health. Going forward, I believe we need to promote mental health and wellbeing. We need to normalise seeking help, therapies, and focus on self care. Mental health is as important as physical health and the pandemic proved to be a good reminder for that.
COVID-19 In India
India recorded as many as 4,194 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours with a positivity rate of 0.52 per cent, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed on March 11.
With this increase in fresh infections, the country’s total tally moved up to 4,29,84,261 including 42,219 active cases. Active cases account for 0.10 per cent of the total cases. Further, the recovery rate is currently at 98.70 per cent with 6,208 recoveries being reported in the last 24 hours. Of the 77.68 crore total tests conducted so far, a weekly positivity rate of 0.55 per cent was observed. The government informed that about 179.72 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far under the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the 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, which 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.