With an exponential rise in the cases of Covid of more than one lakh per day which has surpassed the previous high of the first wave the serious question that is being asked in all circles is are we heading for a second lock down?
The state of Maharashtra and the city of Mumbai have been devastated by the second wave of Covid and places like Delhi and Karnataka are also heading that way.
The question that is being asked is how do we control this pandemic now before it forces us to go into a lock down stage.
The answer is very simple if we analyse the root cause for this
The rapid surge in Covid cases has been due to letting our guard down and throwing caution to the winds
Covid appropriate behaviour has gone for a toss.
Though there are multiple mutations in the virus that have been detected both abroad and within the country the primary reason for the spread of the disease is Covid inappropriate behaviour.
The only way of controlling this Pandemic is rigourous implementation of Covid appropriate behaviours of masking, social distancing, hand washing and avoiding crowds.
The government should come down heavily on avoiding of large gatherings be it political rallies ,protests ,religious gatherings ,private functions ,public places ,market places ,malls ,theatres and pubs .
Another very important tool in our armamentarium to battle Covid is mass vaccination
India has been fortunate to have the ability to produce large numbers of vaccines within the country and start the vaccination programme in January of this year.
We need to aggressively accelerate the vaccination program and making it much simpler for the public to get vaccinated both in a hospital setting and outside of hospital settings.
The process should be as simple as anyone walking in to a clinic ,hospital or requesting the doctor for the vaccination so that a large number of people can be vaccinated in a short period
It is also important to vaccinate all adults about the age of 18 if the logistics can be managed because what we have seen during this epidemic is a large number of younger population gets infected, has mild disease but are likely to spread it to people of the older age group and people with comorbidities.
With the huge increase in the number of Covid patients there obviously will be a significant strain on the healthcare system and availability of Covid beds in the hospital. We need to try and manage as many number of patients as possible at home, outpatients, daycare and Covid care centres and restrict admissions to only the very sick patients so that we can preserve the precious hospital beds for the needy.
Another very important lesson we learnt from the past is that Covid care in the past had severely affected the care of non-Covid patients and a lot of patients succumbed to their illnesses because they could not get care at hospitals during the Covid pandemic.
This is indeed very sad that we sacrifice a non-Covid related life to save a Covid life.
All lives are precious and hence we should make all out efforts to make sure the care of non-Covid patients do not suffer
What we have realised from our previous experience is that we can only control this pandemic If the government, the private sector and the people work together. No pandemic can be controlled without strong public health measures and a strong support from the public
My earnest request to the public is that please indulge in Covid appropriate behaviour get yourself vaccinated and let all of us work together to control the second surge of Covid before it overwhelms the system and forces the government to impose another lock down Another lock down is going to be catastrophic for the country and may push us back to the “Stone Age “and we may never recover from this catastrophe
So let all of us work together to avoid this at any cost
Dr. H. Sudarshan Ballal, Chairman Manipal Health Enterprises Pvt. Ltd