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COVID-19: The World Still In Vicious Circle With Regards To Exit Plan

Dr Bindu S Nair | Apr 07 2020 08:03:55 PM
Image credits: BP creatives

The first sign of this flu like disease was seen in the Wuhan area of Hubei province in China. Within weeks the virus has spread across the world infecting lakhs of people. The trend continues even today with thousands contracting COVID-19 each day across the globe. 

The fact of the matter is that many details about the novel coronavirus are still unknown. Early reports based on China data stated that, though the virus is spreading fast the mortality is around 2%. However, today if you look at the mortality rates of different countries they are so dissimilar. In Italy and in Spain the causality rate is around 9% wherein as in the neighboring country of Germany it’s below 2%. Some scientists say that it’s because in Germany the eruption of disease was first seen among young skiers unlike the case of Italy wherein the early eruption of infection was among the aged population. Testing related statistical distortion is also cited as a reason. 

Different countries also had different strategies to address the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. Some countries like the US probably took it a little light initially and delayed the mostly recommended lockdown.  They saw an exponential rise in the contraction graph within a short period of time. Though some other countries got into the lockdown bandwagon pretty early, the world is still figuring out what is the best strategy to fight COVID-19. Is it lockdown (focusing social distancing and hygiene), rapid tests or both together or anything else? Even when the hospital beds of neighboring countries are being overwhelmed with corona patients, Sweden has not yet implemented the lockdown in full force. Swedish are fact based and they follow the needed social behavior whether or not there is lockdown is an observation to substantiate the Swedish move. 

Another debate worldwide was whether or not to have the facemasks. The world visibly seems to be divided about this. While WHO still is asking people to wear masks only when working closely with the contracted people and when individuals have Covid-19 symptoms, some experts have a different perspective. They observe that there could be many asymptomatic cases and wearing masks shall protect one another from the droplets. Countries such as Czech republic are early advocates of facemasks where they are recommending home made reusable cloth masks for everyone. The US has also recently appealed to people to wear facemasks when they go out. There are a few east Asian countries that also mandate facemasks. 

Like facemasks, the social distancing scale also seems to constantly move forward and backward. Earlier it was said that one-meter distance is good enough. However, now the recommended scale is 2 meters or beyond. 

Strangely, the coronavirus is causing more causality among men than women. The more prevalent drinking and smoking habits among men and the additional X chromosome in women’s genes which is linked to the immunity code are all stated as reasons to explain this phenomenon. 

A study by the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) says that there is a link between BCG vaccination and the intensity of COVID-19 impact. According to this study, there are fewer coronavirus incidents in countries where BCG vaccination is mandatory for the public.  Similarly, a China-based study links between COVID-19 immunity to blood group types. According to this study O blood group is at a lower risk where A blood group is at a higher risk. However, these studies are nascent and need further probe.

As the cure for the virus is yet to be officially available, many countries are exploring possibilities of treating the disease with existing medicines. Countries are testing and checking the Malaria drug and HIV drug as the potential medicines for cure.

While most parts of the world are in lockdown, many don’t know what’s the right lockdown strategy. Is it 21 days, 28 days or 49 days? Is continuous lockdown effective or intermittent lockdown? No one has a clear answer.  India would complete its lockdown of 21 days by the 14th April. The center government has begun discussions with state premiers to work out an exit strategy. Some states are demanding the lockdown to continue while some others say careful lifting while hotspots are still under lockdown is a better move.  Nation heads across the world also are nervous about the bearish economy, which would have an impact on their exit strategies as well.

China is warning about another peculiar condition. People who were cured of COVID-19 are showing the symptoms again. Some virus surviving in the body and later growing again has been cited as the reason for this. South Korea and Singapore are already experiencing a second wave. 

Though many types of research are happening around the world to invent a vaccine quickly, no immediate results can be expected. Looking at all of this, we should assume that the virus is here to stay for a while. We might need to get ourselves well trained on prevention routes and make it a way of life to combat the virus for now.