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Coronavirus: 6 ft. distance may not be adequate?

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Coronavirus: IPE Global and LSE (London School of Economics) Alumni Delhi with MeraDoc, a pro-bono initiative that connects doctors with Coronavirus patients on Wednesday hosted a webinar on “best practices and strategies for handling Covid-19” with leading doctors in Delhi. Renowned panel comprising of Dr. Harsh Mahajan (Founder, Mahajan Imaging), Dr. Neeraj Jain (Chairman, Dept. of Chest Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital) and Dr. Rahul Gupta (Senior Physician) shared their views, insights and, experiences on the current health crisis. 

Ashwajit Singh (Managing Director – IPE Global), as moderator of the event presided over the critical exchange of information and facilitated questions and answers between the panellists and the participants. 

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“There will be a third wave of coronavirus” was a clear message by Dr. Mahajan. The need of the hour is to mask and mask because it not only protects self but others around you as well.  With nearly 2400 government and private labs put together, today the country is conducting about 2 million tests daily which combines both RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen test – a number probably highest in the world. However, with numbers expected to swell up further he urged the need for private and public sector to come together to fight the crisis. 

Talking about increased number of cases being reported of people who showed Covid19 symptoms but had a negative test report, Dr. Mahajan added that though RT-PCR is a gold standard test with a sensitivity of nearly 70%, there is a chance for it to be negative. Improper sample collection, transport & storage could be a few reasons for this deviation. However, in such cases you need to immediately isolate yourself to protect self and others and, repeat the test after 2-3 days which may turn positive. The other way you can diagnose in the right clinical setting is CT scan.”

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Expressing concern, Dr. Neeraj Jain said the second wave of coronavirus is more dangerous and the highly infectious strain is transmitted very easily considering it is airborne. Therefore, it not surprising that number of cases we are seeing is multiplying rapidly. Adding on, Dr. Jain said, “what makes it more worrying is the fact that unlike the first wave, the second one is seeing the disease become more virulent after initial 4-5 days and, in the second week up to two-three weeks there is fever and infection which spreads to the lungs and does not respond to the usual treatment.”  Touching on plasma, Dr. Jain added that the role of plasma is doubtful. It is usually required in patients whose immune system is overwhelmed and that too, only upon doctor’s advice.

“Disease is mild” said Dr. Gupta. “Most sensible human beings follow the Covid-19 protocol and, minute you drop your guard, either you will be infected or re-infected!” was a clear message from him. Emphasizing on the need for humanity to come together, Dr. Gupta stressed on the importance of pooling resources – be it oxygen concentrators, medicines etc. to handle any emergencies.

Dr. Gupta also urged, “home isolation is the key to fighting the virus, and with technology at our doorstep now, it is important to be self-disciplined and, understand your home is your world. You need to stay mentally strong and understand that the process of physical isolation is not emotional isolation!” 

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Experts unanimously agreed that the exponential increase in the current virus load continues to overwhelm the medical fraternity, infrastructure, and frontline workers. However, to improve the Covid-19 situation, there is a need to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions, have faith in your doctor and, above all do not panic. As the second wave is yet to peak, we need to do everything on a war footing. It is imperative to break this chain and, up the existing recovery rate of near 82% through strict adherence to Covid-19 appropriate behavior and vaccination because, it saves lives.

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