‘Even after this epidemic gets over, we know that there are going to be
months of effects on the economy and poverty.’
“This coronavirus comes with a silver lining. At
least, it will pep up people to take normal civic sense to a higher status. So
that besides coronavirus we actually end up also fighting other diseases like
flu and TB. In India, more people are dying with TB than coronavirus or
flu,” Dr Trupti Gilada,
infectious disease specialist.
viruses were worse than the other.
worse in terms of numbers. Even if it’s a small percentage of all the total
number of cases, just because the quantum of total cases is so big, that even
small percentages will translate into big numbers.
lot of countries have seen the epidemic evolve.
there are some countries, like India, that are probably lagging just a few
weeks behind. So it’s very hard to say which one is going to be worse in terms
you know, that’s not the only impact an epidemic has. I mean, mortality is one
impact. But the other impact is how overburdened the health system gets and
what the country spends and how badly is economy hit globally.
even after this epidemic gets over, we know that there are going to be months
of effects on the economy and poverty. A lot of things are catastrophic for
people from the lower socio-economic classes.
distancing is going to start killing their day-to-day wages. We are not even
measuring that impact.
Mumbai, for instance, we are looking at a lockdown versus testing situation.
And obviously, we cannot test that much in India. So a lockdown looks like a
What are some of the things that really
need to be done in your view?
is one (which is about) the
government giving directives.
there is this entire thing of public awareness.
know, a lot of directives are given by the government. And the people might
just think this is advice and maybe it’s like a panic reaction that the
government is doing
the people really need to be made aware of is why these steps are being taken.
They think that these cases are only in travellers and their contacts. Or ‘I am
not ill and no one at my home is ill, why should I stay home?’
very difficult to explain to a layman the concept of flattening of a curve.
what is India trying to do with social distancing for the next three weeks.
it’s actually not a panic reaction. It’s a reaction to avert that panic that we
might see three or four weeks later.
said that, the quantum of our population is just so massive. It’s absolutely
difficult to just stop everything.
understand that if we actually were to stop public transport, we might be
able to avert the epidemic. But we don’t know what other adverse effects are
going to have on other essential things that people have access to.
the message that we really need to get to everyone is that at this point — and
for the next three weeks — they should be getting out of their homes only for
essential things mean either getting food or groceries.
is accessing healthcare if you are ill.
third is if you need to get to work where your work doesn’t allow you to work
like if you are in healthcare. Or if someone is running the grocery shop, they
have to get to work.
in practicality, if you are getting out of your home for anything other than
these three things, then you just don’t get out of the house. Just be at home.
Mumbai. Of course, vegetables are essential. But the crowds at Dadar vegetable
market are in the thousands…
know that it’s extremely difficult — even otherwise the civic sense in the
Indian population isn’t great. Like why does it take coronavirus to tell people
not to spit on roads. To cover your cough and stay home if you are ill.
really needed such a bad epidemic to teach them that.
that is how it works.
we hope that, at least, this coronavirus comes with a silver lining. At least,
it will really pep up people to take the normal civic sense to a higher status.
that besides coronavirus we actually end up also fighting other diseases like
flu and TB. We really suffer from TB.
India more people are dying with TB than coronavirus or flu.
pages of newspapers about the last party before social distancing stops the
think we are also used to having this lathi
rule. We don’t stop doing things until there’s a punishment to do it.
general I think Indians don’t stop doing something unless there’s a
disincentive. If you don’t wear a helmet, you will be fined. So I am wearing a
helmet because I will be fined not because it is for my safety.
the first reaction is: ‘I need to wear my helmet or I will be fined’. Maybe
over a period of time, they will also understand that they were wearing it for
this time, we need to really do both.
need to create awareness about why you need to do this for health reasons.
at the same time, we might actually need to have disincentives like, you know,
just make it a criminal offence for people to meet that in numbers like 60 and
70. And 100.
least out of fear people will stop doing that.
already the figures for Maharashtra are high — only at the Kasturba Hospital,
Why is it not being given to private
Isn’t this testing an important
happens with something which is an absolutely new disease is that there it
needs a lot of calibration and training and making sure that the tests are run
in the most appropriate way. Both false positives or false negatives will be a
said that, Kasturba has a capacity of running x number of tests — I’m not
exactly sure what that number is — but I think it’s 600 or 700 tests a day —
and Kasturba hasn’t reached that limit.
day Kasturba gets closer to that limit, they do have two other hospitals in
Bombay, I think JJ hospital (south Mumbai)
and KEM hospital (central Mumbai),
which are being prepared to start doing the test. Now, that means that for the
time being only Kasturba will be running the test.
could actually help is — even if Kasturba was the only place running the test
— to have other places in Bombay collect the samples, because what’s stopping
people from probably going there is the distance.
someone who is in Thane doesn’t find it convenient to go to Kasturba if he has
a slight cough and cold and has been in contact with someone who came from (say) Dubai.
you know, they will not even inform us.
we probably are missing a lot of these cases, who are just not reporting.
having say seven or eight or 10 just sample collection centres all over Bombay
will: 1. Offload Kasturba from doing the testing, because I know of someone who
went to Kasturba to get tested three days back. And they said that there was
like a huge queue to get themselves tested.
you have these people who are actually just suspected cases of corona. But they
are probably in queue with someone who already has coronavirus. And they will
get coronavirus just by standing in the queue.
even though the systems are in place, I think the entire process of getting to
that system needs to be streamlined.
hearing about COVID-19 which is wrong?
the one thing that we are reading a lot is about prevention. And people
thinking that gargling and steam inhalation and certain kinds of food or
avoiding certain kinds of food is really going to help prevent coronavirus.
really want people to understand that none of these things, other than hand
hygiene, cough etiquette and social distancing is going to help coronavirus.
food, good sleep and good hydration is anyway good for immunity.
it has no specific effect on coronavirus.
have a lot of people who think that anyway coronavirus gets killed at high
temperatures. I’m just going to take steam inhalation twice a day. By that
logic you have 10 cups of chai every day but you will get coronavirus.
doesn’t work that way. So we really want people to understand that none of
these — food, exercise, homoeopathy, Ayurveda — is going to help them from
warm weather take it away?
Or only containment will finally do it?
is the first time we are seeing the virus
hope that happens, but that is not something that we can rely upon at all. And
it’s very hard to say that’s going to happen.
lot of people think that the temperatures that will be required to actually
bring it down is something close to 45 to 50 degrees, which is hot, really hot.
You don’t want the temperatures to go that high anyway.
Source From Rediff.com