On 31st December 2019, the Chinese authorities warned the World Health Organization (WHO) about a life-threatening virus named Coronavirus, declaring Wuhan, China as the epicenter. While governments all over the world avoided the warning until people actually began to get infected and a world-wide emergency was announced.
Many countries inflicted lockdown right away, trying to prevent the spread of the virus, whereas India went into lockdown on the verge of March 2020.
Lockdowns imposed contributed little in curbing the cases in most of the countries in the world, which also led to the devastation of the richest economies in the world, slaughtering the already dying economies. Cases boosted, the healthcare of countries deteriorated, millions lost their jobs, and about millions died of the deadly virus.
In the rat race of the world championship of vaccines, many countries are actively involved. There are 321 vaccine candidates in development as of October 2020, and a 2.5 fold increase since April.
But no vaccine has proven its safety and usefulness till now; some 44 vaccines are in clinical research that is 34 in Phase I-II trials and 10 in Phase II-III trials. Experts have been predicting a vaccine in the first quarter of 2021 and also say that the vaccine may not be accessible for all in the initial stage of its distribution process.
Last month, around the first week of October, various countries, with Israel being the first; France, Germany, Belgium, Greece, and Spain have yet again announced lockdowns and curfews keeping in mind the rise of COVID-19 cases on the off-set of autumn.
Many scientists have cautioned that there will be a rise in the number of cases during winters owing to ‘the fatal second wave of Coronavirus.’
India has recorded 50,465 fresh Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours. The total active cases in the country now stand at 8,364,086. The country’s death toll has increased to 124,354. Delhi reported its highest single-day spike of 6,842 new coronavirus cases and its cumulative count of cases hit 4,09,000. Kerala’s tally now stands at 4,48,000 with 8,516 fresh cases being inspected.
The Union Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan hinted in his weekly Sunday Samvaad, “Respiratory viruses are known to thrive better in cold weather and low humidity conditions. There is another fact which needs to be kept in mind. There is overcrowding in residential dwellings of many people in the winter season. This also increases the transmission of respiratory viruses”.
A few days back, Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendra Jain warned about the same, “We should wait for and observe the trend for a week. We will not be able to say anything in definite terms till then. It is too early to call it the third wave just yet. But it might be a possibility.” And further added, “People should treat wearing masks as a vaccine till we get the real vaccine.”
So why is winter generally correlated with a spike in viral infections?
Though more and more people tend to stay indoors during winter, poor ventilation can boost the spread of the virus. It is very ordinary for seasonal infections inflicted by respiratory viruses like influenza to surge in winter. Experts inform that this can be curtailed only if precautions are religiously followed: social distancing, sanitizing, wearing masks, and avoiding to stay in badly ventilated areas.
What have the coronavirus trends been like in other countries?
Countries across Europe are noticing a revival in COVID-19 cases after successfully hampering the outbreaks early in the year. After record high daily infections rate in several eastern European countries and quick rebounds in hard-hit western Europe have made clear that Europe never really beat the COVID-19 curve as wished, after the springtime lockdowns.
The European reaction to the coronavirus approves that a major reason for the enormous rise in cases is due to a summertime break in which people let down their guard against the highly contagious pandemic.
The circumstance in Europe throws up a stark difference to China where the administration has successfully supervised to stop flareups locally, even as the country was the first to record the deadly virus. Mass testing and thorough contact tracing, so far, seems to be their best defense mechanism.
Should India be worried?
According to Dr Richa Sareen, Consultant, Pulmonology at Fortis Hospital in New Delhi, “Based on our knowledge of other respiratory viruses, it may be possible that the coronavirus infections might rise in the coming winter months”.
The Experts, including doctors, have already warned the country about a second wave of the pandemic during the winter season, especially in Delhi. Health experts say that they are anxious about ‘twindemic’, as it is highly probable that people may get infected by both influenza and COVID-19, leading to a red alert situation.
The current and upcoming festivities had led to the degradation in the air quality– which has drastically deteriorated in Delhi, and the onset of winter is evaluated to be the main reason for the widespread of Coronavirus all over again.
Medical experts proposed that the situation can worsen as the temperature drops further. India has stricken its peak but it should still remain careful of a harsh spike in the festive season; people have taken Coronavirus lightly and are growing to be careless disrespecting the guidelines meant for their safety.
The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has stated that Delhi might be testifying around 15,000 cases of respiratory illnesses on daily basis in winter because of the heightened prevalence during this season.
So how to fight the novel coronavirus?
Health experts have advised that boosting immunity during this season is the fundamental defense until a vaccine is approved for public use.
- To boost immunity, doctors instruct people to eat healthy foods which include vegetables, fruits, and other protein-rich foods, Vitamin C and antioxidants also help to build up immunity and prevent various diseases.
- Also, sustain a healthy lifestyle by fulfilling the 80% nutritional requirements and 20% physical activity.
- With a boost in the figure of asymptomatic cases of COVID-19, the government has pleaded for a low-key celebration of the festivals as well.
- People with pre-existing health constraints like respiratory difficulties, diabetes, and heart diseases are instructed not to step out as they are more exposed to severe COVID-19.
- Dwelling indoors may not be the antidote, particularly with more and more people in the building, as it will boost the level of stagnant air and improve the chance of spread. Therefore, experts do not approve of minimizing cross ventilation during this winter season to prevent cold air.
We at TSA would urge our readers to always wear masks before stepping out, sanitize themselves and their stuffe consistently, and maintain physical distance at all times and keep their festival celebration low key, let’s fight corona together.