It looks like we all are facing times of unbelievable uncertainty, the times where all of us are trying hard to find the answer to one question that when & how we are going to get over with this coronavirus issue.
So, what have we found out? Coronavirus infection rates growing exponentially but most of the infected people showing excellent recovery. Now that's very reassuring and calms us down. But there are that minor but notable 3 percent deaths in India from it, which is enough to frighten us too.
When we study articles written by epidemiologists, researchers & scientists which are published by renowned journals, coronavirus appears to be a much bigger problem than a respiratory infection problem. It's causing inflammation in blood vessels - which means that it has the potential to cause stroke, heart attacks. Very recently it has been reported that it causes brain damage. Add to it the reports talking about permanent damage seen in the lungs.
On the treatment side through these journals what we know is that there is work in progress but nothing to confirm that it shall be available within some specific time frame.
On the other hand, we have survivors coming on radio, TV, and social platforms talking to us about their experience with the virus. They are telling us not to worry even a bit as it's just like to be with normal cold and cough symptoms which heals on its own in a maximum 2-week time.
Generally, we follow the experts and authorities in power to conclude our thoughts. But even they seem to differ in opinions. The doctors are of divided opinion on what to tell to people. Some say no need to fear and some believe in asking people not to take it lightly.
Political leadership plays an important role in driving perception. But it's difficult to conclude when it's unstable, for example when at one time we see President Trump on TV without a mask and then eventually some other day with a mask on. The question is what's the message.
On messaging very laudable comes out to be Our Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. He has till now maintained a uniform approach towards the disease and in every address to country Mother India has urged people to take precautions and steps to prevent infection spread. He has been absolutely clear in communicating that there is no medicine, no vaccine, and no treatment for this infection.
So, what do we make out of it? That's probably the hardest question to answer.
Carrying on with fear leaves us in distress. It directly affects our health by causing hormonal imbalance, disturbing rhythms, disrupting sleep. Such changes scientifically are proven to lower the immunity, cause health issues, hence putting our lives at risk.
But if not worried then it's risky too. An example is a 43- year old patient of mine who by himself declared this virus as a non-serious threat and went all out with the least of precautions. Unfortunately, he got infected, landed in ICU. Though he has regained his health back, the miseries could have been avoided. So, we see by going easy on the virus there is an overwhelming tendency to be careless towards the infection.
We do have reports of some medicine like dexamethasone and remdesivir or plasma treatment helping patients recover but it must be made clear that they are still not sure-shot treatment tools because if they were then there shouldn't be any deaths at all.
These are unprecedented times that perhaps needs all of us to be powerful forces- the ones who are alert, composed, adapting, strong, and collaborative.
It shouldn't be much to ask if we are required to act in such a way that we bring ourselves back home without getting infected and help others do so.
What we know for sure is that by wearing masks, washing hands with soap for 20 seconds, sanitizer use, and social or physical distancing we can save us from getting infected. Additional preparedness that can help could be - knowing corona cases in your living community, seeking information through credible media sources, minimizing face to face chats, knowing beforehand about the risk of infection from people you are going to meet.
We have heard a lot about corona warrior and corona survivors. What we also need to be is corona monitors. We can prepare ourselves, educate our linked ones to become corona monitors, to enforce corona prevention steps in their respective surroundings.
There is always an end to misery, just a matter of time. Till that time arrives it's a journey we all are making together & hence this makes it of utmost importance that we are on the same page. It means to be united on all fronts.
The article is authored by Punjab Rattan Honorary
Dr. Rajneesh Kapoor who is currently working as Vice Chairman -Interventional
Cardiology at Medanta The Medicity, Gurugram, India