Coronavirus in India: What gives hope in fight against Covid-19

China reported zero domestic case of novel coronavirus first time for a day since the pandemic was recognised in January. In India, the R-naught is much lower than the source or hot zone for Covid-19. What else gives hope that novel coronavirus is beatable.

Bengaluru: Drones deployed by Bengaluru civic body to spray disifectants across the city during complete lockdown imposed in 560 districts in 32 states and union territories across the country as precautionary measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, in Bengaluru on March 24, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

(Rahnuma) The WHO says the whole world is a “very high” risk zone for novel coronavirus spread. But there is hope on the horizon.

To begin with a data set. There are just eight countries which have reported more than 50 deaths due to complications induced by Covid-19, the disease caused by novel coronavirus. These are China, Italy, Iran, Spain, France, South Korea, the UK and the US. These countries collectively account for 7,582 deaths. Of these countries, China is increasingly showing lesser number of fresh cases. Same is the case with South Korea.

China has, in fact, closed down its last special medical facility for Covid-19 treatment. The images of health workers removing protective masks are being widely circulated on social media. This was the temporary hospital put in place to accommodate the overflow of novel coronavirus patients. Now, not enough new cases are being reported to keep it operational.

China’s health commission on Thursday reported no new domestic case of novel coronavirus infection. The health commission said there were 34 new cases of novel coronavirus in China but all were imported or overseas cases. It was the first time that China did not report a domestic coronavirus case since its outbreak was recognised in January. On previous two days, China reported just one domestic case each.

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee interacts with doctors during her visit to the Beleghata ID Hospital to review the health services and fascilities for COVID 19 (coronavirus) patients, in Kolkata on March 24, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

Businesses are coming into operation again in China. Apple has opened its stores in China after a month-long shutdown.

Another good news coming is the recovery of two key patients – the oldest and the youngest. The oldest patient was a 103-year-old Chinese woman and the youngest was a newborn in the UK. Both have now been reported to have recovered from the fatal infection.

The doctors from different parts of the world including India have been successful in finding a combination of drugs that can actually treat Covid-19, a disease that is only two-month old for the medical fraternity. The central government in India has allowed a combination of drugs used to treat HIV patients to treat those having Covid-19.

In the US, novel coronavirus vaccine has been used in its first clinical trial. Israel is too very close to announcing another vaccine. India has also begun researching on the coronavirus strand isolated by doctors here.

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his cabinet colleagues practise social distancing as they hold a meeting at Varsha Bungalow lawns in Mumbai on Day 2 of the 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed by the Narendra Modi government over the coronavirus pandemic, on March 26, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

In India, the patients of novel coronavirus are recovering well. Given the efficiency with which hospitals have attended to the Covid-19 patients make the three deaths due to novel coronavirus aberrations. First of the three who died had refused to go by the medical advice given to him.

Further, the R-naught or the number of persons being infected by a Covid-19 patient or carrier is much lower than what has been found in source region of China or hot zone like Italy. Against the average R-naught of over 2, it is only 1.7 in India. This could be due to efficient management of the pandemic or restricted testing regime, as some have expressed concern about, for novel coronavirus.

The WHO has said it is “impressed” with India’s response to novel coronavirus pandemic. WHO representative to India Henk Bekedam has, however, said that India needs to widen its scope and reach of lab testing for novel coronavirus. The government has already announced including atypical pneumonia patients in the ambit of the lab testing for novel coronavirus.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with key stakeholders from Electronic Media through video conferencing to discuss the emerging challenges in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, in New Delhi on March 23, 2020. (Photo: IANS/PIB)

This may or may not lead to spike in the fresh cases of novel coronavirus in India. But relief for India is the difference in pattern of how the disease spread in hot zone of Italy, Iran, Spain, France or even the United States – all much more industrially advanced countries than India. These countries reported more than 500 cases only three days after reaching three figure mark.

In India, the novel coronavirus cases reached 100 mark on March 15. And, still the Union health ministry’s website shows (as on Thursday afternoon) the total number of active Covid-19 patients 148. It says an additional 14 novel coronavirus patients have been discharged from hospital after they were cured of the disease.

There has been an increased consciousness in the public about social distancing and not spreading rumours despite some attempts which were quickly marked by agencies including the WHO. People have cancelled their travel, curtailed their social gatherings and companies encouraged employees to work from home to mitigate chances of contracting the contagion in transport.

The railways told a parliamentary panel on Wednesday that 60 per cent of booked tickets were cancelled in March under the shadow of novel coronavirus outbreak in India. This means a loss of revenue for the government but it also signals the increased awareness and cooperation on part of the public to defeat the pandemic. Public awareness and participation against novel coronavirus spread is a definite hope.

Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao chairs a high-level committee meeting on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) at the state assembly complex, in Hyderabad on March 14, 2020. Telangana reported second coronavirus positive case on Saturday while two more are suspected to be affected by the virus. (Photo: IANS)
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