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India’s Covid figures not looking good, but..: Top doctor gives tips to be safe

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Gripped by the second wave of the deadly coronavirus disease (Covid-19), India is currently witnessing a tsunami of cases and deaths. The number of daily cases topped the 100,000-mark on April 5, a record jump never seen in the country ever before. This record was broken exactly 10 days later on April 15, when more than 200,000 citizens (200,739 exact) tested positive for the disease in 24 hours. Since that day, the numbers are scaling new heights.

On Sunday, another record 261,500 cases and 1,501 deaths were reported in the country, taking the caseload to over 14.78 million including 177,150 deaths, 1,801,316 active cases and 12,809,643 discharges, according to the Union health ministry’s dashboard.

Hospitals and medical facilities across states and union territories (UTs) are overburdened and complaining of shortages of beds, oxygen supply and essential drugs.

In such a scenario, K Vijay Raghavan, principal scientific adviser to the government of India, shared a thread on microblogging website Twitter, which contained insights from Dr CS Pramesh, a thoracic surgeon and director of the Tata Memorial hospital in Mumbai.

In a series of tweets, he agreed that the overall situation is not good and suggested ways to overcome it. Here is a look at some important tweets from Dr Pramesh:

1. Dr Pramesh said that people do whatever they can to avoid getting infected. If they are infected, they should minimise adverse consequences to themselves and others.

2. He pointed out there is “no magic bullet” to avoid getting infected but people must stick to the basics.

3. Dr Pramesh urged people to follow all precautions which are known to be helpful. “These include masks (whenever you are not at home and not alone), physical distancing to the extent possible, and washing hands frequently. The 3 Ws – Wear a mask, Watch your distance, Wash your hands,” he tweeted.

4. With regard to social distancing, the top doctor suggested six feet is preferable but a minimum of three feet distance should be maintained. He also urged people to avoid crowded places and meet others “only if absolutely necessary”.

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5. Dr Pramesh urged people to get vaccinated against the Covid-19 disease as soon as they can, adding that it reduces the chances of getting infected by 70-80% and contracting serious illness by 90%. Talking about the side effects of the vaccines, he said, “We’ve heard of blood clots etc. Yes, they do occur, but they are extremely rare events, and the benefits of taking a vaccine far outweigh the risks.”

6. He said people should be well prepared even before they get infected. “Buy a thermometer and a pulse oximeter to keep at home. These are two important instruments you need in case you get infected,” the top doctor wrote on the microblogging site.

7. If a person gets infected, the doctor said that there is no need to panic as 98% get through without any major issues. Dr Pramesh further urged them to isolate themselves from others.

8. In terms of which medicine to take if one tests positive, the top doctor said, “If your oxygen saturation is fine and you have no symptoms other than fever, all you need is Paracetamol.”

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9. Amid an outcry by states and UTs over the shortage of Remdesivir and Tocilizumab, he said these drugs are only beneficial in very limited situations, adding that people must let their physicians decide whether these drugs should be prescribed.

10. Dr Pramesh also pointed out one can test positive for Covid-19 despite taking all precautions and even after getting vaccinated. “Remember, none of this is 100% effective – but 70 to 95% effective is a whole lot better than 0%,” he said.