What we are facing right now is a national emergency, nothing short of war. Covid is real and right here. And no, it’s not just a fever or flu unlike many of you assume!! It is imperative to understand the gravity of the situation because the only way to break the chain of transmission as of now is by staying indoors.
Doctors have been repeatedly emphasising the practice of covid appropriate behaviour. In the past year, you have been told things that all of you know by now-
Do not step outside unless necessary. If at all you need to go out, please wear masks at all times, fully covering your nose and mouth with no air escape. Sanitize and wash your hands regularly and do not touch your eyes or nose with your hands.
But still, there is a large section of the population (both educated and uneducated) who just don’t seem to follow. While on one side there are heart-wrenching stories of covid inside the isolation wards and ICUs, there is sheer dumbness on the other side when people are seen roaming on the streets without masks!!
I’ve also heard all sorts of reasons (rather excuses or myths) justifying their behaviour right from:
“We feel suffocated on wearing a mask for so long” to “I have already been infected by the virus so I don’t need to wear a mask” “Covid has excellent survival rate and I’m a healthy person so even if I get it I’ll recover”.
Trust me, you don’t want to get it… the little suffocation you feel with this mask is far better than an oxygen mask that you’d be in if you get infected! Lakhs of people are getting infected daily and these are just the numbers who get tested, the real situation is much worse. Thousands are dying daily. And it only counts as statistical data until these numbers turn into names for you and one of your loved ones get affected.
So let me tell you the scientific reason of why Covid appropriate behaviour is extremely important to end this pandemic-
The Sars-Cov-2 virus doesn’t have any special animosity towards us humans, it is doing exactly what any it is supposed to i.e. evolution based on Darwinian law of survival- ‘survival of the fittest. Covid appropriate behaviour (like physical distancing, use of masks, washing hands) and neutralising antibodies to the viral spike protein derived from natural infection are ‘antiviral’ in a way because they prevent the spread of disease in the population. But when this antiviral response is ‘suboptimal’ (lack of covid appropriate behaviour) the virus produces mutations that are resistant to our natural immune response (causing increased rate of re-infections) as well as to covid appropriate behaviour (causing increased transmissibility). This is similar to how the bacteria evolves and produces antibiotic resistance. And as the virus keeps on mutating, we get new waves of the disease much worse than the previous!!!!
So the key is to first break the chain of transmission by staying indoors and following covid appropriate behaviour in case you’re out. And secondly, controlling the spread by establishing vaccine-induced herd immunity.
Now that the vaccination is open for all, please get yourself vaccinated. Do not fall prey to all those myths and misinformation related to the vaccine. Vaccines are weakened viral pieces that induce a polyclonal immune response in your body triggering higher neutralising antibodies than the natural infection thus strengthening our antiviral response and suppressing emerging variants. So vaccines do work.
Coming to the most asked question, how are some people getting infected even after vaccination?
Well, that can occur due to multiple reasons one being the person was presymptomatic covid i.e was covid infected before the vaccine but didn’t show symptoms. The vaccines are 80-90% efficacious after the second dose which means if don’t take enough precautions after your first dose thinking you’re immunised, you can catch the virus. And since no vaccine has 100% efficacy, some people can still catch the infection after full vaccination. Hence the need to achieve herd immunity as soon as possible! Even patients with chronic comorbidities have no contraindications. So get vaccinated. Benefits over risks always! And no vaccine can kill you!!
Please understand that the healthcare system is already overburdened and if people keep on getting infected, it will eventually collapse. In many places, we are already in shortage of resources, but if do your part by staying at home, masking up when out, getting vaccinated and not consuming the resources unnecessarily (not every covid patient needs oxygen or remdesivir, please consult a doctor instead of self-medicating).
We can fight this together.
Written by - Dr Aditi Modi
Hi! I’m Aditi
I decipher the space between heartbeats literally and metaphorically. An ambivert by nature and an old school by heart, I prefer coffee over tea, cafes over clubs, mountains over beaches, 90s songs over modern remixes and sleep over everything else! Reasonably intelligent, tolerably funny. Mostly talkative. I have a thing for old books and pressed flowers. (actually all kinds of flowers :D)
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