Derechos | Equipo Nizkor
Fearing COVID-19 Surge After Festivals, Medics in India Urge Citizens to Follow Precautions
According to Federal Health Ministry data, India's total COVID-19 cases has climbed to over 44.6 million, with 1,334 new cases reported in the past 24 hours. The virus has so far claimed 528,961 lives in the country. However, Indians can breathe a sigh of relief, as the national recovery rate has increased to 98.76 percent.
Festivities are back in India following a two-year gap, when COVID-19 wrought havoc across the country, claiming the lives of thousands of people, while many are still suffering the long-term impacts of the pandemic.
Mass vaccination programs and strict protocols have helped bring the situation under control, to the extent that many in the country believe the virus has disappeared. However, with the emergence of a new Omicron sub-variant, concerns have again been raised.
Talking to Sputnik about the possibility of a surge in infections after the festivals, Director of the Department of Pulmonary Medicine at the Delhi Heart and Lung Institute Dr. Bharat Gopal said that "now, it is known that COVID-19 and many other similar viruses spread from person to person. With the new coronavirus variants, the infectivity is likely to increase."
He further stated that the chances of getting infected are high during festivals, as the public has started to neglect health protocols. Meanwhile, over the past two years, it has become clear that the only way to break the spread is to observe "COVID-appropriate behavior."
"This is what happens during festivals, or any other occasion when there is a crowd. However, we don't need to be scared, though we need to be cautious," Dr. Gopal said.
Echoing the views of Dr. Gopal, Dr. Rahul Sharma, additional director at the Department of Pulmonology at Fortis Hospital in Noida, said: "Apart from people coming out with masks and not even adhering to health protocols, the emergence of new variants, especially BF.7 in Gujarat, is also one of the major reasons for concerns. BF.7 is the same variant that caused so many cases in China."
However, Dr. Gopal believes that it is not about new variants or specific variants, as they will keep occurring.
"COVID is here to stay like Influenza. We are just hoping that the variants will become less lethal. They will come, there will be surge and then they will [subside]. So, I think that we shouldn't be going into nomenclature."
Precaution Is the Only Cure
Indian healthcare experts, doctors, and the federal government have all been advocating for following protocols and precautions since COVID-19 entered the country.
These guidelines were followed rigorously by almost everyone, but in recent months, many have abandoned the precautionary measures.
"We have lived through COVID-19 and followed the protocols out of fear, but now we have to follow them and live with it by choice. We have to understand that if we follow coronavirus-appropriate behavior there won't be any surge," he said.
Both doctors agreed that it can't always be the government that has to impose things. Rather, people should understand that it is for their own safety.
"The government has already issued the guidelines and it is at every public place that people have to wear masks, so now it is the responsibility of people to follow it. You can't handhold each and every person. We are not in a school where we have to be taught everything. For two years, we have seen the disaster made by this deadly virus," Dr. Sharma explained.
Dr. Gopal said the government has never retracted its guidelines and has never said people no longer have to wear masks, as has been said in other countries, so it is not the authorities who are at fault.
"Even according to the WHO, COVID is still a matter of public health concern. So, we have to follow the precautions till the disease is declared endemic and everybody in the world is safe," the senior pulmonologist said.
[Source: Sputnik, Moscow, 24Oct22]
|This document has been published on 06Nov22 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.|