Pandemic Mitigation: India’s Covid-19 Recovery Numbers Show A Promising Future

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As of July 11, 2020, India’s recovery numbers across the nation have tackled the five hundred thousand mark; the recovery rate for people infected with the Covid-19 were at an all-time high of 62.78%.

Speculating the path to successful mitigation:

The Union Health ministry reported that the high rate of recovery is attributed to the measures that have been implemented successfully by both the Centre and State governments. This included undertaking of surveillance activities and creation of containment zones within the country by government authorities.

As of the 11th of July, the COVID-19 infected tally spiked to 820,916, with the number of deaths climbing to 22,123. According to the health ministry’s data, the number of people dying from the disease in 24 hours hitting 519.

“A series of proactive, pre-emptive, and co-ordinate measures have been taken by the Centre and State governments for the containment and prevention of COVID-19”, said the report.

The number of recovered cases in the nation outnumbered the number of active cases caused by SARS-CoV-2, and the progressively widening gap led to an increase in the recovery rate. With all active cases under medical supervision, everybody is working together to ensure that severe cases are prioritized in hospitals whereas pre-symptomatic and moderately affected patients are home-isolated with the required care.

A number of policy changes have also boosted COVID-19 testing in the country, including allowing all registered medical practitioners to recommend testing for the disease and the introduction of rapid antigen point-of-care testing in tandem with real time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction, also known as RT-PCR. The Indian Council of Medical Research have reported a total of 11,307,002 swab samples having been tested for COVID-19, of which 282,511 swabs were tested on July 10, 2020.

The ministry also reported that the per-day tests have been demonstrating a steep climb, with the country’s Test Per Million (TPM) standing at 8,193. Laboratories in India are also being strengthened continuously, with those in the public sector standing at an appreciable 841, and private labs standing one short of 340.

Prime Minister Modi comments on the pandemic:

A statement has been released by the Prime Minister’s Office in which PM Modi has directed that real-time national level monitoring facilities and guidance must be provided to all affected states containing high positive rates for coronavirus tests. This has been published after the health ministry’s report on the improving pandemic situation in the nation.

Appreciating the efforts taken by the Centre, state, and local authorities in containing the virus in Delhi, PM Modi decided that a similar approach should be replicated in keeping the pandemic in check across the entire National Capital Region (NCR). His Twitter update read that “priority is close monitoring and guiding [sic] the containment works in regions where infection rate is high”. Prior to this update, a review meeting had been held to crunch the COVID-19 numbers in various parts of the country, and the preparedness of all states in mitigating as much damage being caused by the pandemic as possible.

Modi also reiterated the need to stay precarious about one’s own personal hygiene and others’, and maintaining social discipline when in public places. Efforts to increase awareness about the pandemic has been (and is being) spread far and wide across the nation, along with continued emphasis on the prevention of transmission of the disease. “There is no room for any complacency in this regard”, asserted the Prime Minister.

The review meeting:

The review meeting held by the Prime Minister was attended by the entire cabinet secretary and ministers of various portfolios, among others. A post-review tweet by Modi stated that they “had an extensive meeting to review the COVID-19 situation across the nation”, and that they “took stock of the ongoing efforts to contain the infection”.

The Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, had taken control to handle the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic in New Delhi, amidst rising cases and critique targeting all parts of the Delhi government’s handling of the situation. At the time, there had been increasing complaints of non-availability of beds in hospitals for patients and difficulty in getting tests done in laboratories. The minister had held a discussion to determine more solutions to check how widespread the infection could be – this had been held with the chief ministers of Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.

The review meeting had also highlighted the success of home-based care and surveillance of COVID-19 in Ahmedabad via Dhanvantri Rath, a caravan of mobile hospitals with doctors on-board that can be approached by any persons that fear and/or are doubtful about their health conditions during the pandemic. Emulation of such innovative strategies was encouraged repeatedly by the Prime Minister in the meeting. The Prime Minister also tweeted that they had “discussed ways to further step-up our capacities to prevent the spread of COVID-19”, and that they “also highlighted successful initiatives being undertaken across India to ensure the coronavirus is kept under check [sic]”.

PM Modi had pointed out in the review meeting that the mobile hospitals of Ahmedabad had proved effective when it came to home-based care and surveillance of infected areas, helping out people living in territories where there is a general fear to step outside and reach COVID-19 hospitals lest they get infected, too. The hospital-turned mobile van stations had facilities to check the temperature and oxygen levels of people, and offered to test for diabetes as well (for people aged more than forty). While the provision of dispensable medicines on the spot was a laudable move, mandating ayurvedic and homeopathic edibles to “boost immunity”, on the other hand, dragged the glory down in the eyes of the world.

Staying safe during the pandemic:

Recently, the Drug Controller General of India granted permission for the marketing of Itolizumab – a drug of rDNA origin. Itolizumab is a mono-clonal antibody that has been pre-approved for treating chronic plaque psoriasis in its severe stages, and can now be used under restrictive emergencies for the treatment of Cytokine Release Syndrome – better known as CRS. CRS is a common sight in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) in its moderate to severe stages, and is a consequence of being affected by COVID-19. This has been approved under certain rigorous conditions such as patient consent, risk management plans, and usage in hospital setups only.

Here are some recommendations and tips to keep yourself safe from SARS-CoV-2 during this pandemic:

  • Regular washing of hands should be a compulsion. Hands are often the physical point of contact between any surface and our body. Since COVID-19 is spread via droplets that can be on any human or object surface, it is recommended that you regularly wash your hands with soap after coming back from a trip to the shops or any public places.
  • Similarly, avoid physical contact between your hands and your face. In fact, avoid close contact between your hands and anyone’s face, as infected droplets are commonly exhaled from the nose or unknowingly spit out via the mouth while talking. Maintain a physical distance of at least three to five meters, despite the ideal social distance being keeping as far away from everyone as possible.
  • Last, but definitely not the least, wear a mask. A respiratory mask keeps infected droplets in check, be it from yourself or from an external source. Respiratory masks are made out of micrometer-sized filters that ensure that infected droplets do not reach you or anyone else. While it may hinder breathing processes by a little, it is safer to get used to slower respiration than the coronavirus infection.
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