Neither A Meme, Nor An Advisory: Corona-19

– Dr. Ankit Sharma

Neither A Meme, Nor An Advisory: Corona-19

A little patience from your side will be required as I try to talk about Covid-19 in a simple language, which will be difficult for me as the only useful thing that I’ve done for myself and the society has been to learn to interpret bucket-load of medical jargon. Saying “chhua-chhoot ki beemari” instead of nosocomial spread of infection is not a great example, but hopefully you get what I mean.


Why should we be afraid of novel Corona virus?
Corona virus infection is primarily a respiratory infection and Covid-19 has a reported mortality rate of around 2% in some countries. Now the mortality rate may seem much lower than a lot of other infections or lifestyle diseases, but the catch is that it has a high infectious rate. Which basically means that if not kept in check, it will spread like wildfire and will infect a large proportion of the population, and then even a small percentage of mortality will be huge in actual numbers.


If one has it, shouldn’t he/she get tested? Where are testing kits for 1.4 billion Indians that we need?
The symptoms are those of ‘common flu’ that you might have had. If the symptoms are mild, isolate yourself and your contacts from the rest of the family and society at your home. Call the Corona helpline number (Pan-India:+91-11-23978046, New Delhi: 011-22307145) for further guidance. If symptoms don’t get better and/or there is breathlessness or any other emergency, report to a hospital. The above scenarios are applicable regardless of your knowledge of your Covid-19 status (Corona Aladeen or Corona Aladeen). So, DO NOT run after getting tested. If you don’t have it, and you think “getting it tested anyway” is a good idea, you might catch it on your visit to the testing facility where actually infected patients might have gathered.


What to do? What does that whatsapp forward mean by chain? How to break the chain?
‘Chain’ is simply the chain of infection. If we distance ourselves from the carriers and the infected ones, they will eventually recover in a week or two due to that magical and, in some uninformed opinions, mythological thing called immunity, and the virus will eventually die out or weaken in terms of blatant spread eventually. This is the best case scenario that we are hoping for, and it needs a lot of effort. It needs you to be responsible and stay at home and not step out unnecessarily. Not even if you want to gather with your mates to chant “Go Karuna, Karuna Go” because I agree, it seems like a hilarious idea.


Stay at home? That’s it? Wait. That is difficult!
Yes. Of course it is. Step out only for essential groceries and/or medical help (if absolutely necessary, not for the repeat prescription for calcium tablets that you have been popping for years in disguise of ‘taakat ki goli’). Wash your hands before going out, after coming back home and before touching your face. EVERY TIME. Minimize touching objects at public places, cancel your parties and gatherings, smother your inner ‘wanderlust’, and for God’s sake DO NOT HOARD ESSENTIALS. It is pretty obvious that we are facing this problem as a society, so be considerate. Help out each other and the less fortunate ones not only with netflix recommendations, but also with money and food.

Even though Gaitonde made us believe the opposite for almost 6 episodes, Trivedi of Sacred Games died inside his bunker with all his hoarded material. Stay at home. Netflix and Chill, Prime and Dine, Hotstar and beer-sheer maar (Actually NO, it weakens your immunity, so avoid alcohol and smoking), even make TikTok videos if you have to. You have my blessing, for I have decided not to judge TikTokers till further notice.


When will this be over? This is a disease after all, medical community needs to handle it, not the citizens, right?
Wrong. Even the medical community is learning as we go about tackling this. We are learning from problems faced by other countries. We are trying not to repeat the mistakes already made.

An analogy is that when there is an explosive scare at a public place, the bomb may or may not go off, but if a stampede ensues, it will hurt people. The government and the medical community is working on diffusing the bomb. The public has been requested to disperse, go back and stay at home in an orderly manner. Incidentally, doing that is a way to diffuse the bomb as well.

The bottom-line is, please listen to what the medical community and the government advisory is trying to tell you. It is a problem, and we are in this together. Be responsible, be optimistic, and protect the elderly and the children.

Corona ke peechhe pad jao, haath dho ke.
I have never meant something in a more literal sense than this sentence.


(Opinions are personal, kindly refer to WHO and regional guidelines for accurate information and advisory)

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