By Dr Niharica Raizada | October 28, 2021
Fed up of being contained, our lives have become acutely more exciting than that of a lab rat, Covid has taken the centrefold in every socio-economic sense and the coronavirus is the only star we see on posters these days. Now, the competition is the three Khans and SARS; who would you like to see? The first and second waves have emerged as teachers, deteriorators and finger pointing infrastructural torchbearers, so what’s next? A third wave, how many more of these waves must we ride before the pandemic reaches its climax? An end maybe, or will it get its tag as the next big sensation in the family of seasonal virals?
Maybe it already has. The first wave in many senses affected the elderly and the vulnerable with several co-morbidities (predisposition to airway disease, hypertension, diabetes and people who are easily hypercoaguable), whereas the second wave hit closer to daily wage workers, the younger population, with certain outbreaks in jails, congested slums, hospices and care homes.
Five factors can be associated with predicting the future: Climate, Co-morbidities, Population Average Age, Mutating ability and Herd Immunity vs Induced Immunity ratio. Other aspects such as heavy drinking, depression, anxiety, corona-related recession (SARS-cession) and antibiotic resistance will shed light on survival overall.
Research suggests that the prediction of future waves can be determined by climate in which transmissibility is favoured by dry and cold winters, and reduced during warm and humid summers. This means that hopefully during the monsoon we can expect a slight reduction and potentially a risk of resurgence in December, especially in the northern hemisphere where temperatures become relatively cold. Did you get Covid? This might be another booster in prevention, because if more than 50% of the population was infected, the impact of Covid greatly reduces due to the presence of antibodies manufactured by the body itself.
But beyond waves of many orders, I think, what we all must discuss are the waves and levels of psychological impact this pandemic has brought about, with low-impact individuals serving a huge mass suicidal tendency never seen before. India already faces the challenge of suicide with a representation of 26.6% according to worldwide statistics and during these two waves of Covid this problem only worsened with a two-fold, sometimes three-fold, exacerbation in places such as Himachal Pradesh and Kolkata. So, what is the solution? Kejriwal might suggest a phased lockdown process of 18, 21 and 28 days on and off, but for how long? The vaccine or administration of symptomatic relief approved drugs is another solution. An indirect chemical lockdown product dissemination, with a proposed 136-crore drive between August 2021 and December 2021 the vaccine drive is a big Covishield and Covaxin party with some special guests getting on to the guest list such as Johnson and Johnson, Sputnik V, Pfizer, Moderna seems left behind in India and Zycov-D has just received a nod and gone into production. It may shock you, but as of 21st July 2020 there were 24 candidate vaccines and 142 in preclinical stages. We don't even have that many varieties of egg dishes in Gujarat.
The last and most important solution is the strength of the active anti-Covid task force, especially in places similar to Dharavi where there is a population density of more than 336,000 people per km, obviously with government-led capacities, the handling, structuring and manoeuvering of these task forces are and will be the most important solution to the problem at hand. With organised government aid we believe these task forces will take a holistic approach of first emphasising the vaccine drive, then pushing for a booster drive, and eventually getting everyone to see a treating psychotherapist, because we're all going to need one sooner or later with all these drives.
It's not a bleak forecast but it is definitely one to pay a lot of attention to, since most people think of five-year goals, we hope that this virus has one of being eliminated very soon. So, follow the Covid-Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) rules, stay safe and stay healthy.
Dr. Niharica Raizada is a Medical Scientist and an International Film actor.
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