The coronavirus existed on this planet as a virus, but the year 2019 witnessed a significant shift of the virus from an epidemic to a pandemic. Presenting you a case study will help you and our future generations discover everything about covid-19.
Major Key Takeaways
- The Coronavirus outbreak has affected a huge chunk of the population around the globe.
- Having originated in China, the virus has now spread to all the continents, the last one being Antarctica.
- Countries like the USA, India, Brazil, etc. have been affected the most and the majority of the cases are from these countries only.
- The virus has had a huge impact on various sectors like Education, Healthcare, Retail, etc.
- The second wave is also being referred to as COVID-19 Tsunami because of the high intensity and frequency with which it’s spreading as compared to the first wave.
- Various vaccines have been and still are being made to cure the effects of the virus. In India, 2 vaccines have been given the go-ahead by the government, namely Covishield and Covaxin.
- Social Media has played a huge role in spreading information about the virus to all parts of the world.
- Indirectly, the virus outbreak has also had a severe impact on mental health as well.
- For India, the situation continues to worsen as the arrival of the 3rd wave is more or less evident.
- Still, we have to look towards the future and prepare ourselves for our lives after the pandemic.
Chapter 1: What is an Epidemic?
It is always the unexpected that changes our lives. Before we all knew what we were about to enter, a wave from the northeast of the globe squashed everything we could have enjoyed in the next year.
It was at the end of the year 2019 when the masses started falling ill altogether. Same symptoms. Same feelings. Same nervousness. Everything at once. What could it be?
While we were all prepared to enter the New Year 2020 with a blast, little did we know what was in store for us?
Coronavirus or the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, and we all went masking ourselves up!
What is it? A disease? An epidemic? A pandemic? Similar to Ebola?
With all of these questions in mind, let us get a clear picture of this virus!
Coronavirus: An Epidemic or a Pandemic?:
Before you know everything about Covid-19, let us know under which family it belongs to.
Not all infectious diseases that occur need to be created equal.
They may be addressed with similar names, but they do hold some distinction. That distinction can be based on their type of symptoms, their place of origin, their intensity and most importantly, their spread.
Mistakenly, the terms used to describe them are often used interchangeably. So, we must understand the distinction between them. Let’s have a look at these universal terms that we often get confused with:
- Epidemic: An epidemic can be understood as a disease that affects many people within a specific community, population or religion—for example, Cholera.
- Pandemic: A pandemic is an “epidemic” that spreads across more than one countries or continent—for example, Swine Flu.
- Endemic: Talking about an endemic, it belongs to a particular group of people or a country. For example, Chicken Pox.
- An Outbreak: An outbreak is greater than the anticipated amount of spread in the number of endemic cases. It can be as few as a single case in a new area. If not controlled as soon as possible, it can become an epidemic—for example, the Ebola virus.
Now let’s look at what Coronavirus falls into, a pandemic or an epidemic?
To get you a clearer understanding of what and why coronavirus is termed, read along!
A simple, fun way to understand the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic is to remember the “P” in a pandemic can be denoted as a “pandemic having a passport.” So, a pandemic, in a way, is a globe-trotting epidemic.
Thus we can safely say that Coronavirus started as an endemic but eventually due to its spread like wildfires it came to be known as a pandemic.
Since coronavirus occurred, there have been several incidents that were recorded to date in its journey. Here’s how the virus proceeded:
Chapter 2: Everything about Covid-19
What is Coronavirus?
As per the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS.
These viruses were initially transmitted from animals to people. Like SARS was transmitted from civet cats to humans. And MERS transmitted from camels to humans.
In reality, several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that haven’t yet infected humans.
The name coronavirus comes from the Latin word corona, which means crown or halo. Under an electron microscope, the structure of the virus seems to be surrounded by a solar corona.
The novel coronavirus identified and classified by Chinese authorities on January 7, 2020, and since named SARS-CoV-2, is a new strain that hasn’t been identified previously in humans.
Not much is known about it, but human-to-human transmission has been confirmed. This variant of novel coronavirus is commonly known as the COVID-19 virus.
The name came from the following parts- “CO” for corona, “VI” for the virus, “D” for disease, and “19” for 2019, the year it was first identified.
Now that we know what Coronavirus is, let us now try to understand the different symptoms which one might have when infected with this virus.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
As per WHO, symptoms of infection include fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, and difficulty in breathing. A few other signs may be loss of taste or smell, loose motions, and muscle aches.
More advanced and severe cases lead to pneumonia, multiple organ failure, and even death in extreme cases.
The incubation period, or the time between infection and onset of symptoms, ranges from one to 14 days. But in most cases, and on average, people start to show symptoms within five to six days.
At times, infected patients might be asymptomatic. This means that they don’t show any symptoms even if they have the virus in their systems.
With the occurrence of the second wave, a wide variety of new symptoms have been detected among the patients. These new COVID-19 symptoms are explained in this short video titled “COVID-19: Your guide to new symptoms”.
How dangerous is covid-19?
Fatality numbers throughout the world overwhelmingly surpassed the toll of the 2002-03 SARS outbreak, which originated in China.
SARS had a 9% mortality rate, meaning that it killed 9 people out of every 100 people it infects. SARS infected 800 people worldwide and more than 300 in China alone. MERS, which didn’t spread as far and wide, was more deadly as it killed one-third of infected people with a 35.5% mortality rate.
But, in COVID-19 coronavirus, it is much more widespread than SARS in terms of case numbers. Its infection rate has been much higher than SARS.
According to WHO, the mortality rate remains considerably lower at around 3-4%.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), elderly people are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, resulting in increased stress and anxiety during a crisis.
People with severe underlying medical conditions or comorbidities like heart or lung disease or diabetes have a higher probability of developing more severe complications from COVID-19 illness.
Where have cases been reported initially?
It is currently unclear where the COVID-19 virus has come from. Initially, it was understood to have originated in a wet food market in Wuhan where an infected animal subsequently spread the virus from animal to human. Some research has claimed that cross-species transmission might have been between snake and human; however, this idea is still contested.
This short video titled “Mystery illness outbreak in Wuhan, China” shows how and when the first case of COVID-19 case was reported in Wuhan, China.
How contagious is COVID-19?
Ever since the outbreak began, there has been an increasing number of confirmed diagnoses, including healthcare professionals, thus showing that person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is happening.
As per the paper published by WHO titled “Preliminary Estimation of the Basic Reproduction Number of SARS-CoV-2 in the Middle East”, the preliminary reproduction number or the average number of cases a single case produces throughout an infectious period is estimated at present to be between 1.4 to 2.5. This means that every person infected by COVID-19 would result in that person infecting 1.4 to 2.5 people more.
Like other common respiratory tract infections, SARS and MERS are spread by respiratory droplets produced by an infected person when sneezing or coughing.
There has been evidence as per the WHO’s brief titled “Transmission of SARS-CoV-2: implications for infection prevention precautions” that the COVID-19 virus can spread through airborne transmission too.
How is COVID-19 diagnosed?
As this novel coronavirus travels through and impacts respiratory tracts, symptoms like dry cough and fever are witnessed commonly.
Respiratory symptoms include sore throat, headache, myalgia and nasal congestion. There might be cases where the patient even struggles to breathe due to excessive fluid buildup in the lungs.
In more severe cases, coronavirus causes pneumonia, kidney failure, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and even death.
Diagnosis is suspected in patients with a travel history from a containment zone or direct contact with another infected patient. This, along with symptoms like new, continuous cough, loss of smell and taste, and fever, might confirm the diagnosis too.
What are the tests I can go for to detect the COVID-19 virus?
But, diagnosis is mostly confirmed through tests for the COVID-19 virus. As of now, the two most popular tests for COVID-19 virus detection are done for patients. These are RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen tests.
In most situations, the “gold standard” of any available tests right now is considered the RT-PCR test. RT-PCR or Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction tests for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 virus RNA/genetic material.
Samples for the same are collected from the nose and throat with a cotton swab. Molecular tests detect viruses in the sample by amplifying the swabbed genetic material to detectable levels. This is why the RT-PCR test is done to confirm an active infection, usually in a few days of exposure to infection and the onset of symptoms.
Rapid Antigen Tests are also widely used to detect the COVID-19 virus. This test detects the protein fragments specific to the COVID-19 virus. This test can be done in a clinic, doctor’s office or hospital.
The test turnaround time is relatively quicker than the RT-PCR test. They are also cheap and are mostly preferred when there is more virus circulating in a community and when sampled from an individual during when they are most infectious.
The false-negative rates are much higher in Rapid Antigen tests as compared to RT-PCR tests. This is the reason why RT-PCR tests are preferred over Rapid Antigen tests to be confirmed about the virus infection.
What COVID-19 virus mutations have happened in India?
There are several mutations of coronavirus in the country apart from the main COVID-19 variants.
As the virus keeps spreading among people, it mutates and finds efficient ways to replicate and to try to be resilient against being wiped by the human’s immune system.
These mutations are considered to be the reason behind the catastrophic second Covid wave in India.
At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak (reportedly from China’s Wuhan) was a single strain outbreak, but as it moved through different people across the world, it mutated.
ICMR experts have said that they have constantly been watching the behaviour of COVID-19 mutations in the country.
Chapter 3: Coronavirus Outbreak
Coronavirus began in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019 and has been spreading ever since.
Let us quickly find out how does covid-19 virus spread?
The virus is an infectious disease that rapidly spreads from one person to another, showing symptoms such as fever, cough, and trouble in breathing, as well as pneumonia, multiple organ failure, and may also lead to deaths in extreme instances.
COVID-19 virus takes one to fourteen days to develop, however, the virus is highly infectious before any symptoms occur.
Despite having the virus in their system, some infected people may not show symptoms. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), they are Asymptomatic.
The sad reality is that while some may have severe symptoms, others may not have any, which is why there is no set pattern of how the virus will spread.
Coronavirus Outbreak In India
As we have come so far in time with the Coronavirus timeline, the country is now witnessing the second wave, which is even more deadly after the first wave. But let’s go a little back in time to January 2020, where India’s first confirmed case was witnessed in Kerala.
The infected person was a student studying at Wuhan University, China, and she had recently come back to India. After her return, she had symptoms and was tested positive for the virus. The girl belonged to the Thrissur district in Kerala.
Right after the detection of the first case, the Government announced that all the people who had returned from China after January would be tested for the virus, and all those people were also told to keep themselves under complete isolation as the virus has an incubation period of 14 days.
The Health Ministry also advised that those with a travel history to China after their return should isolate themselves for 14 days and sleep in a separate room, limit contact with other family members and most importantly, avoid visitors.
To fight the infection and break the chain of the virus from spreading, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared nationwide lockdown on 24th March 2020 to save the lives of the people in India.
Ever since the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is going on, India is fighting against the virus. We are hoping that in the coming days, we will be able to eradicate the virus.
Its spread in different countries
As mentioned before, Covid-19 made the jump to humans at one of Wuhan’s open-air “wet markets” in 2019. At the beginning of the pandemic of a deadly virus, this incident took away millions of lives.
There is no proper evidence regarding the origin of Coronavirus till today. There are various speculations about its origin, but today, scientists worldwide focus on methods to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
Let us understand how one sneeze of a person in the Wuhan Market initiated a domino effect and led to people’s death and the world’s economy.
Let us see the growth and spread of Covid-19 in different countries.
Its outbreak in Asian countries
Its outbreak in European countries
Its outbreak in North American countries
Its outbreak in South American countries
Its outbreak in Australia
From March 20th, 2020, Australian borders were closed to all the non-residents.
Though the virus has spread across the country, the damage has been relatively less as compared to the other parts of the world.
Chapter 4: How the Indian Government handled the COVID-19 outbreak
The COVID-19 pandemic has left the entire world in a state of shock. It has touched every aspect of business, technology and social life. Ever since the pandemic has hit us, India has seen a continuous recession and downfall in the economy and a rapid rise in the number of corona cases and deaths.
Just like a baby looks out for the comfort of his mother when he is ill, the people across the world looked for a stable and effective government for managing the crisis with care, wisdom and compassion.
As soon as the pandemic hit the world, governments around the world acted quickly and decisively, even with limited information.
The first response of the government of India to the COVID-19 pandemic involved the screening and quarantine of all the people who arrived from China.
The first case was reported when a student from Wuhan University returned to India after completing his degree. After the first case was reported, the government started screening passengers arriving from other countries.
As the pandemic spread rapidly, the Indian government announced social distancing measures and initiated travel and entry restrictions.
Throughout March 2020, several shutdowns and business closures were initiated. By the end of the month, the Indian government ordered a widespread and complete lockdown across the nation.
The country witnessed a complete shutdown to protect the people of the nation.
Overnight everything became online. From schools to shopping malls, everything became digital.
The most challenging aspect was to shift the entire schooling online. Children were confined within the four walls of their homes and had to attend their school. Students faced a lot of problems adjusting to this new change.
The government planned Health literacy by providing relevant information through effective communication and structured the entire education sector to provide proper education to all the children.
There was a real need to develop, implement and evaluate such changes to improve the knowledge and understanding of all the students and the parents.
The Prime Minister of India gave multiple tasks to the people of the nation to keep them engaged and motivated.
These efforts of the people didn’t help in reducing the virus, but they kept the people motivated.
India has come a long way in the fight against the virus, amid the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases. After the hard work and rigorous efforts of the healthcare sector and scientists, India successfully came up with the COVID-19 vaccine namely: Covaxin and Covishield.
This was a big relief and one of the best achievements by our nation. Many people are now coming forward to take the COVID-19 vaccine in a bid to keep themselves immune from the virus.
Chapter 5: Impact of Covid-19 on various sectors
It’s been over a year since we’ve been leading a life where there were no two ways to “normal.”
Back then, most of us couldn’t be bothered about germs and infections, and we stepped out in our best outfits to go on outings with our friends.
Oh, weren’t those little joys the best things ever?
And then came December 2019, when the first-ever Covid case was reported in China. By March, we Indians were knee-deep into the pandemic, with lockdowns and masks crowding all over our conversations while we remained in isolation.
Who would have thought about such a thing happening?
Not us, for sure. But we weren’t the only ones.
By the initial two to three months of the pandemic, the entire world was in disarray. Every sector of the economy was drastically affected.
Every industry was struggling to cope with it. There were losses, demand and supply disruptions, and people even started practising black marketing in the later stages.
Let’s study in detail what each sector in the market went through.
Before we dive deep into the this topic, let us first understand the impact of covid on economy of India as shown in the snapshot below:
1. Impact of Covid on Education Sector
The impact of the pandemic on the education sector was not a very positive one in every way. The lockdowns that were enforced worldwide had a terrible effect on the life of the students.
Around 32 crore million students stopped moving to schools and colleges to complete their education, and all the educational activities came to a halt in India.
One thing that this pandemic has taught us is that change is inevitable. It has acted as a catalyst for change in educational institutions to grow and adopt technological advancements.
As far as the positive impact of covid is concerned, it encouraged blended learning, use of learning management systems, the emergence of digital literacy, enhanced soft copy learning, time management and increased the scope of widespread exposure for students.
But if we look at the negative impacts, it hampered the practical educational activities for students. Teachers found it difficult to cope with the technological advancements of adapting to online teaching; thus, they gave up their jobs.
On the other hand, the transition from an offline classroom to an online learning arrangement builds pressure on parents to educate their children efficiently.
Many underprivileged children who didn’t have access to modern technology and gadgets were deprived of education during the lockdown period.
2. Impact of Covid on Healthcare Industry
The COVID-19 pandemic has tested even the most developed healthcare systems globally as the foundations of the healthcare system have also been shaken naturally. The overall response to the pandemic witnessed both the private and government sector working in tandem.
Though the other sectors of the economy were in deep despair, it was a time to bloom for the health sector. There was a high demand for medical supplies, doctors, nurses and hospitals.
The private healthcare players rose to the occasion and provided all the support that the government needed and still does. It arranged for testing, isolation beds for treatment, medical staff and equipment at government COVID-19 hospitals and home healthcare.
The Indian healthcare sector contributed to about 60% of the inpatient care.
Not only this but Covid 19 also impacted mentally on the frontline working doctors and nurses. Because they wanted to protect their own families from contracting the virus, they had to stay distant from them.
3. Impact of Covid on Retail sector
Another one on the list is the retail sector. Back in 2020, India’s retail sector racked up a whopping Rs. 15.5 lakh crore in losses ever since the lockdown was imposed on March 24.
This led many businesses to shut down as the coronavirus-induced lockdown wreaked havoc in the industry.
A report by New Indian Express stated that around seven crore traders and about 40,000 trade associations, at least 20 per cent or 1.4 crores more retailers are likely to wind up their businesses in the next few months without any support from the government.
4. Impact of Covid on Media and Entertainment
If we talk about the media and entertainment industry, In 2020, the global pandemic impacted theatrical and home/mobile entertainment too.
As movie theatres and production studios temporarily closed up and millions of celebrities and artists quarantined themselves too, there seemed to be no production at all.
Talking of the films that had already hit the theatres, since the government imposed the nationwide lockdown, there was no movement in the box office.
The viewers were forced to stay home for their video entertainment.
The events and the pandemic gave popularity to the new streaming video services from such prominent studios such as Disney, Universal and Warner Bros. joining (and competing) with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.
Hence, stay-at-home viewers were able to watch premium TV shows and movies across various screens and providers.
Due to this digital shift, the number of digital subscriptions saw a growth of about 49% in the market, whereas; the online gaming segment grew by 18% in 2020.
5. Impact of Covid on Lifestyle
The encounter of the pandemic completely changed the way people used to live their lives. Going out for movies, shopping, eat-outs had become a thing of the past.
Covid-19 caused an unprecedented challenge to public health, eating habits, and, most importantly, the world of work. Digital space started taking over everything.
All the businesses, education of students, and other lifestyle activities like fitness and workout were being conducted online. That’s how the concept of the “new normal” emerged.
People started looking to settle in their happiness in the little things they could do for livelihood while staying home.
6. Impact of Covid on Travel and Tourism
Travel and tourism had been among the most critical sectors of the economy before the covid era began. It accounted for almost 10% of the global GDP and more than 320 million jobs worldwide.
As soon as the pandemic barged in, the travel industry saw an instant downfall putting about 100 million jobs at risk. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, India generated about 5.6 % of total exports revenue.
The travel industry is one of the significant sources of creating jobs for people. But, since the pandemic started, the travel industry is facing a major existential crisis.
Spinning under the pandemic’s colossal blow, nearly 30% of inbound tour operators in India may shut their shops permanently; however, this figure could be as much as 60 to 70% as per some estimates.
Chapter 6: Rules/guidelines for the Health Workers
Ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of healthcare workers has been the most concerning matter for everyone.
While we were in the comfort of our homes, Healthline workers have been working day and night tirelessly to save people’s lives.
In these challenging times, they have been the real heroes, who have fought the COVID-19 battle.
But for the health workers, it is even more concerning as they have the responsibility of the lives of so many people on their shoulders. As such, they need to take more precautions when working.
Some issues which the healthline worker face are lengthy working hours, fatigue, crowd violence, shortage of equipment, and mental stress.
For Health worker’s safety, WHO has come up with the following covid-19 guidelines for healthcare workers:
- To have a zero-tolerance policy towards violence. Health workers’ protection, increased security, surveillance cameras, and violence prevention policies are a must.
- To avoid any harm from overworking, health worker’s shifts need to be optimised such that adequate breaks are given. WHO advises five eight-hour or four ten-hour shifts per week, with gaps in between. Also, 7-8 hours of sleep time is recommended.
- Frequent Hazard/ Virus elimination steps need to be carried out. Make sure to eliminate or at the very least try to reduce the spread of infection. The proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) equipment should be given to workers as a precautionary measure.
- Overuse of disinfectants may cause adverse health effects and should only be used as per product recommendations and in a properly ventilated area.
- Provide compensations for extra working hours to keep up the morale. In the situation of a health worker getting infected, a priority protocol should be implemented.
- Mental health problems are also an issue, so proper training and psychological support should be provided.
Health workers are at a greater threat than ordinary people due to continuously working in an infected environment. Above were just some concise, important measures that must be taken by health workers as recommended by WHO.
Chapter 7: Vaccination
Any pandemic can be confronted with the invention and use of a proper vaccine. Vaccination is one of the steps you can take to protect yourself from deadly diseases.
You might be thinking, what goes into the creation of a vaccine? Well, the answer is simpler than you think.
The COVID-19 vaccines produce immunity towards the SARS COV-2 virus by stimulating an immune response to an antigen, the characteristic spike protein found on the virus’s surface.
Recently, many COVID-19 Vaccines are being developed and approved by WHO. All of them perform similar functions to teach the immune system to recognize and block the coronavirus.
There are five classic types of vaccines available:
- Inactivated vaccine: The virus is deactivated by chemical or radiation and then injected into a person to develop an immune response against it.
Developing inactivated vaccines require special laboratories to grow the virus safely. Polio vaccines are developed by this method only.
COVAXIN Bharat Biotech Vaccine uses an inactivated virus to generate immunity. It generally requires two to three doses to be administered.
- Weakened or Attenuated vaccine: This type of vaccine uses a living weakened version of the virus to develop an immune response.
Attenuated vaccines generally provide immunity for more extended periods. An attenuated vaccine is safe, but since pathogens are still alive, it can be problematic if the patient does not have a functional immune system.
Vaccines for Shingles, measles, mumps and chickenpox are examples of an Attenuated vaccine.
- Subunit Vaccine: Subunit vaccines contain only part of the virus, usually a spike protein.
These vaccines cannot cause disease, but they may not be seen as a threat to the immune system and may not elicit the desired immune response.
A subunit vaccine may also consist of empty virus shells without genetic material. Due to the typical size and shape of a pathogen, these vaccines may not require adjuvants to be perceived as a danger, but they can be challenging to produce.
Tetanus, Diphtheria and meningococcal meningitis Vaccines are examples of a Subunit vaccine.
- The Genetic Approach or Nucleic Acid vaccines: These contain genetic information for developing the Viral Antigen.
Nucleic acid vaccines introduce viral DNA into the cell’s nucleus, where it is transcribed into mRNA. The mRNA is translated into viral spike protein in the cytoplasm. The protein is then displayed on the cell surface, just like with other types of vaccines.
A vaccinated person can develop immunity to those proteins without ever being exposed to the actual virus.
So, there’s a minimal chance of disease from the vaccine itself.
- Viral Vector Vaccine: It uses a harmless, unrelated virus to deliver the DNA or subparts called proteins.
These vaccines do not contain antigen but use the body’s cells to produce them. The modified virus known as the vector is used to deliver genetic code for an antigen.
Ebola Vaccine is the example of Viral Vector Vaccine.
The Table below highlights some of the key features of the leading vaccines approved by WHO
Chapter 8: The second wave: The inception of the COVID-19 Tsunami
Just when we as a country thought that the situation was under control and we were a step closer to normalcy as the daily COVID-19 infection rate came down from 90,000 in September in 2020 to 20,000 in January 2021.
We were hit with a more severe second wave of Coronavirus. On February 10th, it was confirmed that the second wave of COVID-19 hit India.
There was a sudden spike in the number of daily infection rates which rapidly increased from 11,000 to 22,000 in a period of just 10 days and reached the highest peak when it touched 89,800 cases within the next 50 days.
While other countries such as Australia and New Zealand took their own sweet time to open up their regular economic activity, India was too quick to announce it was successful in its mission to eradicate the pandemic and went ahead to “ supposed” normalcy.
There are a lot of factors that triggered the exponential skype in the infection rate from the beginning of this year.
The second wave is also being referred to as COVID-19 Tsunami because of the high intensity and frequency with which it’s spreading as compared to the first wave.
According to a report published by LiveMint, as per World Health Organization (WHO) the 5 main reasons that led to the massive surge of the COVID-19 infection rate in 2021 are as follows:
- Mass Election Campaign and Rallies
- Early opening up of Economy
- Mass Religious Gatherings
- Poor preparedness for the potential second wave
- Transmissible variants
Were we prepared enough?
With the opening up of the economy,the Government announced early in January that India has been successful with fighting back the pandemic.
They had also reassured that India has enough supply of vaccines for itself and to help out other countries.
Which clearly shows that we had not predicted the grave situation the potential second wave could bring.
According to a report by the New York Times, by mid-May India confirmed about 23 million cases of COVID-19 and a death rate of about 2,50,000 people.
The sudden spike and severity in the number of cases added pressure to the already weak healthcare system in the country.
Even though the Government did not announce a nationwide lockdown in the current scenario, several states had started imposing local restrictions and weekend lockdowns since mid-March to curb the spread of the virus.
In 2020, the new normal was masks, sanitisers and social distancing and there were fewer complex cases getting admitted to seeking COVID-19 treatment.
But, the second wave turned out to be very harsh with thousands of Indians seeking help for ICU beds, Oxygen Cylinders, Oxygen Concentrators, Vaccination, Remedisivir and Plasma Donation with everything running short of supply.
With the daily spike in the infection rate, a lot of patients had to be hospitalized, especially the ones who were already suffering from an underlying disease, and others who had low SpO2 levels.
India failed to perform rampant and efficient genome sequencing until mid-February this year. According to a report published by TOI India is sequencing just 1% of the sample it is collecting which is very little compared to what other countries have done.
Due to which the link of a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases with the double mutant virus referred to as “B.1.617 variant couldn’t be fully established even though the Government has now announced that they might be related.
Why are a large number of people being hospitalized in the second wave?
You might have come across a large number of news articles, social media platforms, or even noticed within your friends and family that there is a spike in the number of COVID-19 related patients who need immediate hospitalization compared to the first wave.
Even the number of minimum days required for hospitalization has been doubled from 7 to a minimum of 15 days.
In the second wave India is struggling with shortage of oxygen supply.
When compared to the first wave, the number of patients who are in dire need for oxygen support during hospitalization has marked a 13.4% spike.
Even though mild to moderate symptoms can be treated at home, there has also been awareness created among the public to monitor their Sp02 level.
To make sure that it falls in between 92%-96% and if your readings are anywhere below it you would have to seek medical assistance.
To understand how to measure SpO2 levels, head over to Pulse Oximetry: Uses, Readings and How it Works.
The deadly Double Mutant Virus:
After the sequencing of less than 1% of the COVID-19 samples collected from different states, the Indian SARS -CoV-2 Genomic Consortium, the Committee announced the detection of a deadly COVID-19 variant known as “B.1.617” or the “double mutant variant.”
If you are wondering why this is bothering the scientists is because this variant has shown the lineages of two deadly variants which was first detected in California, South Africa and Brazil.
The World Health Organization has recently categorized this double mutant variant as a variant of concern for its increased transmissibility.
Even though viruses keep mutating itself over a period of time, why is this variant creating a sense of worry?
This is because the double mutant variant has mutated itself in 2 big places. This means that it gives the virus an added advantage from the immune system and becomes tough for the antibodies to fight against the virus.
Chapter 9: Role of Social media during Covid-19
Ever since the onset of Covid-19, Social Media has become one of the most crucial tools for communication.
While the doctors have been on the front line to take care of sick patients, the social media platforms have been a medium of generating information, disseminating data, and consuming facts.
No other possible ways to cure or manage Covid other than quarantine and social distancing could be seen. And, this is when the impact of Social Media began to be felt for spreading public health awareness and advocacy regarding general health issues.
While various news handles like ANI, Times Now, took to their Twitter accounts to spread awareness on Covid 19 and share up-to-date information on the same, some nations and states like Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, etc. introduced region-specific Twitter and Facebook accounts for these purposes.
Social Media today has become a modern-day solution to reach out to people for any kind of help; be it business, personal life, medical help or anything you can think of. Here are certain statistics that can help you understand why has social media become the best way to reach the masses:
- About 71% of the world’s Internet users are between the ages of 15 and 24.
- There are approximately 197 million active social media users (14% of the total population).
- According to the 2014 Digital Health Literacy Survey among European Citizens, at least 59% of Europeans used the Internet to check on information related to health.
- 55% of the population requested access to general information; out of which 54% asked for information on a particular illness, 23% sought detailed information on a diagnosis, and 10% used the net to get a second opinion after consulting their physician.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Department developed a tool to contribute to combating the virus.
The famous “Arogya Setu” App that could help you monitor your symptoms and track the number of cases around you was a development in the Social media domain.
Chapter 10: COVID-19 Patient Interview
In order to give you closure about what exactly Covid-19 is, we had a detailed discussion with Covid survivors.
The data was collected from patients who had faced mild, moderate and critical symptoms. The inference is drawn by analysing all the aspects of the information collected.
The aim of these interviews was to know about each stage the infected person went through. The talk revolved around the symptoms seen on a daily basis, changes in health, and other daily life changes due to isolation. The patients were happy to help us with the study and shared their stories with utmost interest.
This study will help you in understanding the issues faced by a Covid patient and based on which future plans can be made for others similar situations.
DAY 1 to DAY 2
The early signs are very similar to the common flu with a mild headache. The patient neither feels tired nor has a fever in the first two days.
The patient starts experiencing body aches and fatigue. Body temperature reaches above 97.7° Fahrenheit. Although it is very uncommon, other symptoms like mild nausea, sore throat, vomiting, or mild diarrhoea are possible to set in.
On day 4, the patient thinks of going for a COVID-19 test when sore throat fever becomes more serious. Other symptoms like weakness and muscle pain start to show up. The patient body temperature reaches between 97.7° to 98.6° Fahrenheit.
DAY 5 to DAY 6
The patient’s body temperature reading reaches above 100° Fahrenheit and Dry cough starts to appear. Dyspnea or breathing difficulty occurs occasionally. Shortness of breath and chest pain may reflect and become a severe problem to senior citizens and those with preexisting medical conditions. Patients at this stage usually feel very tired.
Other symptoms such as loss of smell and taste are also prevalent in some patients. Sore throat, dry cough, fever, Fatigue, Difficulty in Breathing are among the top key indicators of COVID-19.
The patients that haven’t started recovering after day 6 get more serious coughs and difficulty in breathing. Usually, This is the time when a patient infected with COVID-19 is admitted to the hospital. Fever may go high up to 100.5° Fahrenheit. Patients may develop further body pain, diarrhoea or worsening pneumonia at this stage.
DAY 8 to DAY 9
After the 7th day, the symptoms are likely to worsen for the infected patient who has a weak immune response or pre-existing medical conditions. Body temperature also goes above 100.5° Fahrenheit.
SPo2 level falls below 85%. Severe shortness of breath and painful coughing becomes problematic to patients. On Day 9, critical patients require Oxygen support.
DAY 10 to DAY 11
Doctors will prescribe specific tests like HRCT, Chest X-ray, D-dimer and CRP test to capture the severity of infection.
Some patients face abdominal pain, and Spo2 level tends to decrease below 85%. During this condition, patients need proper oxygen support 24*7 and require immediate treatment in ICU in some critical cases.
DAY 12 to DAY 14
For COVID-19 survivors, the symptoms can be well-managed under the doctor’s observation. Weakness and shortness of breath prevail at this stage. The recovery rate for patients with pre-existing conditions like sugar and blood pressure may take longer than usual.
Body temperature gets back to normal, and oxygen level may start to increase on day 14. However, Some patients may still experience chest discomfort, mild cough and weakness even after hospital discharge.
DAY 15 to DAY 16
Oxygen saturation level starts to get back to normal for several patients. For several patients, this period is usually up to three weeks. During this period, most vulnerable groups should prepare themself for the possibility of acute kidney injury or cardiac failure.
DAY 17 to DAY 19
COVID-19 fatality cases happen at around day 18. Before this time, vulnerable patients may develop a secondary infection caused by a new pathogen in the lower respiratory tract. The severe condition may then lead to Blood Coagulation and Ischemia.
DAY 20 to DAY 24
The surviving patients are recovered entirely from the disease and get discharged from the hospital. For some patients, mild cough and weakness may last long, which is quite normal.
Looking back, the Patient wished they would have taken the time to reconsider going to that extra social gathering, taking extra precautions at the workplace, rethinking whether to party or hang out with friends and relatives.
In retrospect, The Patient should have taken these outbreaks as a warning and taken COVID-19 guidelines more seriously.
However, The best piece of advice always comes from people who have experienced the situation. That’s why we interviewed a few people who have recovered from COVID-19 to provide life-saving information to you.
Before moving to the next part of this article, Please remember that we all can end this pandemic with proper vaccination and self care.
Wear a mask and take the threats about the virus seriously until you are vaccinated. No matter how healthy you are, you are not immune to this virus.
“Stay home and stay safe”
Chapter 11: Impact of Covid-19 on Mental Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a threat to our population not only because of the economic distress, but it has also caused enormous strain to the emotional psyche. We have seen it happening time and again during financial crises over the centuries across the world.
But this time around, it is being observed on a much larger scale. This could be because of the economic uncertainty and fear of death arising from the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases. Moreover, the news about close ones getting infected with the virus, struggling between life and death is very distressful.
It is not just a pandemic in the sense but many are experiencing personal loss of loved ones, worsening mental conditions because of being confined to their homes and losing the purpose of life.
If a person experiences emotional sickness, every aspect of his life gets affected including his relationships, productivity and affinity for life. Therefore, it’s very important during this time to consciously maintain good physical and mental health.
Factors causing mental health to deteriorate in society:
Social Isolation and loneliness
During the lockdown and because of a shift to an online world, people are experiencing isolation and loneliness.
Poverty and debt
People working in medium and small scale industries are highly affected as their livelihood was disrupted due to lockdown. These businesses have taken a huge blow during this pandemic and as a result, the workers in these industries have been severely affected with a pay cut.
Bereavement of closed ones
Losing people, family members and even hearing about losses leave a huge impact on the mental psyche. This leaves a feeling of uncertainty and hopelessness amongst people.
Unemployment and losing one’s job
Another contributing factor is the loss of employment leading to huge emotional stress and tension. Even the people with secured jobs had to face the scorn of the pandemic because of the ensuing lockdown and slump in business activities.
Domestic violence and abuse
We are witnessing a sharp rise in domestic violence cases. During the pandemic time, it’s unfortunate that the people who had been seeking counselling have been unable to get help for better well-being.
In Conversation: Through the lens of a Psychologist
Psychologist, Dr Easwari Vadlamudi tells us she has observed a significant difference in the emotional problems faced by Covid-19 recovered patients and non-contracted people as well. Psychology is the only science without a definition. It is important to understand Psychology and its importance
People who have not contracted Covid-19 live in constant fear of contracting the virus and losing loved ones. There is increasingly a hoarding mentality observed in people to combat emergencies.
In 2020, we witnessed a hoarding of groceries to handle future shortages while in 2021, we are observing the hoarding of oxygen cylinders and medical equipment.
The people are often in a panic state, watching the updates on news channels and magazines to stay updated about the pandemic. With so many updates coming up on various social media platforms, there is also huge miscommunication and misinformation.
So, it’s very important to sift through official websites for the right information and stay prepared.
Talking about the people who have contracted the virus, there is enormous anxiety to recover and concern to not spread it to people at home. When it happens that the family members are affected, they feel guilty and grieve intensely.
It adds to the financial and work-related pressure that they have to handle. There are also others who are affected because they were fortunate to recover while other family members lost their lives. There is a lot of emotional stress to handle.
Domestic abuse has increased in the majority of the households during the lockdown and this adds to the prevailing social issues. People who had been seeking counselling privately without the knowledge of the family members earlier are unable to attend the sessions now.
Coming to people opening up about mental health itself, psychological impacts exist because of the stigma around it. Though they have issues, they prefer to keep it a secret out of the fear of getting embarrassed.
While some people are opening up on social media, we are still a long way to reaching out and seeking help. Many people are going through post-traumatic stress and it is observed that many people are having suicidal thoughts in this challenging time.
There has to be an increased awareness that seeking help would help better deal with situations and have good mental health.
Chapter 12: How to take care of your Mental Health
During the lockdown due to the pandemic, it can be challenging to keep your mental health stable. Humans, after all, are social animals, and we need to roam around to look for new people to interact with.
So, how can we make up for the sudden lack of interaction while staying at home?
The first thing that you need to do is to realize your presence. You need to understand that you are a human, the pinnacle of evolution. The virus is short-lived, and you can use this opportunity to do almost anything and everything as long as you put your mind to it. Believe in yourself.
The time you now have is the perfect opportunity to finish your personal goals. Been waiting to read that book you like? Go ahead! Wanted to lose those extra kgs you gained last month? No one is stopping you now. This will help you take your mind off other things and help you be productive towards personal goals that will bring you self-satisfaction.
Limit watching News
While this might seem like a strange suggestion, try to limit your exposure to news channels for a long time. With the situation as it is, news channels are majorly broadcasting covid related news. This can have a negative effect on your mental health.
Maintain a Routine
Create a routine for yourself and try following it every day. Creating a routine helps you manage your time efficiently and ensures that you don’t waste time doing anything. It also helps to bring discipline to your lifestyle, which is a trait that is genuinely beneficial.
Keep yourself Fit
Staying at home without any physical exercise can have an adverse effect on our health in the long term. Ensure that you stay in your best state by exercising regularly. You can follow various trainers online to learn the process. This is very helpful as it improves your mental health, preventing stress and depression.
Generally, we forget about the gift of life that we have. When we see the sufferings of others do we realize how lucky we are. Writing about the same is much better. Create a Gratitude Journal. Maintain it religiously. No better time than the present to be thankful for what you have.
While the situation is tense, you need to be composed. It is very easy to get confused between an anxiety attack and chest congestion. Do not rush to the hospital at every discomfort. This will be a problem for both you and other people who are needier. Panic creates problems. In these situations, the best tool is your mind. Use it carefully.
It is OK to feel Stressful
Stress signifies that the situation is terrible. Which it is. It is alright to feel scared for yourself amid the pandemic. It is a threat to everyone. Your stress is justified. But, do not let it overcome you. Find ways to lessen your stress and look for solutions. Think before acting.
Stress always leads you to feel like a failure. Even if the situation seems to be in hand, you feel you’re losing out on something. It is hence important to stay motivated when you sense failure.
Reach out for help
If you have the misfortune of seeing the negative side of the pandemic, my heartfelt thoughts are with you. But, you need to realize that it is not the end. You are alive, and that is a huge thing in itself. The best thing in this situation is to talk to someone. Talk to your family, your friends, a professional, anyone at all. It will take a lot of courage, but once you can open up, you will get over your loss.
Remember, Ashes make the Phoenix.
Chapter 13: The third wave
According to the SUTRA model, the second wave should be declining by the end of June with a daily infection rate of 14,000, close to the pre-second wave times, during which 12,000 COVID-19 positive cases were reported daily.
According to reports, even though the COVID-19 second wave is declining after attaining a peak, the process of ending the second wave cycle would be gradual.
Since the positivity infection rate was between 5-6% in the first wave, it is between 20-40% in the second wave, which is a huge jump.
According to Prof K Vijay Raghavan, the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, even though the timing is not predictable, the third wave of Covid-19 is inevitable in India.
As a pre-preparation for the potential third wave, the Supreme Court has directed the Government to create a pan India buffer stock of oxygen to eliminate the crisis of oxygen shortage that is taking place in the current wave.
Will this wave only target children? How would this wave be different from the 2nd?
It is confirmed that the third wave of Covid-19 would badly affect children below the age of 18 years.
Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of New Delhi also stated that the Coronavirus variant found in Singapore can be India’s 3rd wave which could be extremely dangerous for kids and he also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government to immediately stop air services with Singapore and prioritise vaccination drive for children.
India is fighting against the second wave already and the vaccination drive has helped us at large to take control of the virus spreading.
As far as the third wave is concerned it is being said that it is most likely to affect the young children and the matter of concern is that there is no vaccine available for below 18 as of now.
It’s not mandatory that the third wave of Covid-19 would ONLY target children. The wave can also be harmful for the people above the age of 18 years.
This virus is spreading and mutating on its own and there is no solid proof to state on how it will affect the population.
People above 18 years would not be affected as much because by the time, third wave would hit the country, most of the population above 18 years would be vaccinated. As we can already witness the vaccination drive is going on in full swing and is showing positive results as well.
The main reason behind hitting the children from the 3rd wave is that the vaccination drive for below 18 has not started yet.
Also, it is very important for the parents to get vaccinated as soon as possible because it would be safe for the children when the third wave hits the nation.
Having said that, the third wave may or may not hit us, depending on the way we tackle the present situation and how we continue our fight against the virus.
We need to vaccinate at least 300 million young parents in the next few months. The government should mainly focus on the availability of vaccines as it is predicted that the 3rd wave would hit the nation after 4 months.
And according to the reports, several children below the age of 18 years and newborns have tested positive for Covid-19 in Maharashtra’s Akola and Amravati districts, leading to many deaths that are not even reported.
So, we all need to be safe and take full precautions till we eradicate the virus completely.
Wrapping Up: Everything about Covid-19
The coronavirus outbreak has shaken the world and has affected millions of people around the globe, with an ever-increasing and disturbing fatality rate.
Since its inception it has spread at a rapid pace affecting people from different countries, resulting in the shutting down of whole cities and even countries.
The coronavirus outbreak has spread to every continent on the globe, with Antarctica losing its status as the last continent free of COVID-19. The virus has had various sizable impacts on different countries, some of which have had to face the worst outcomes.
India, the USA, Brazil, France, etc. are some of the worst-hit countries owing to numerous reasons but the main one being the not so strategic approach taken either by the government or the people from the start.
The virus has had a huge impact on almost each and every sector including health and pharmaceutical, education, travel and tourism, lifestyle hospitality, real estate, automobile, media and entertainment, retail, etc.
Various governments acquired different strategies and techniques to limit the spread of the virus, but only a few emerged successfully. For others, like India, where a second wave is going on and a third wave more or less evident, the virus shows no sign of slowing down.
Cure being the last option as prevention wasn’t possible, so many vaccines have been made and many more in the making.
Despite all this time of scientists working tirelessly to understand the virus, still, new theories are coming to light, causing both the authorities and the people to worry about it more and more.
The most recent one being that the virus is airborne.
Learning about the pandemic, it is very easy to feel overwhelmed by it. It is, after all, a global threat. There are news reports every day that show a critical situation.
You cannot help but feel a sense of panic and anxiety. The best solution to that is understanding that this is not the first threat that humanity has faced. Every significant development in our history is accompanied by an instance where humans had to face the wrath of nature.
And despite countless threats, we humans have persevered. We are the largest species on the planet only because we do not give up easily to fight till our last breath. We look for solutions to every problem, and we don’t even think of resting till we have it.
Testing times test your metal!
A lump of coal becomes a diamond only after experiencing intense pressure. Yes, we may lose people close to us, and while there is no replacement for a loved one, maybe this pandemic will teach us to value life a tad bit more.
So, I urge everyone to hold on. No one can say when the situation will improve, but you can be sure that it will, one day. All that we can do is wait. Wait for the sunrise that will bathe the world in the sunshine to mark the beginning of a world born anew. And you as its inhabitant who survived.
1. What does a vaccine contain?
A vaccine contains a weak or killed form of micro-organism, which stimulates the cells of the body to recognize it as a threat and create antibodies.
2. What are the types of immunity?
Adaptive and Innate are two types of immunity, which are further divided into – Active, Passive, Natural, and Artificial immunity.
3. How to increase immunity?
Some basic steps to improve immunity are adequate sleep, daily exercise, vaccination, eating nutritious fruits and vegetables, and avoiding bad habits which affect health like smoking.
4. Is alcohol-based sanitizers harmful to the skin?
Most Alcohol Sanitizers contain ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol (60%- 90% alcohol in water, variations). Regular use can cause dryness and ageing of the skin; therefore, washing hands with soap is recommended more than the use of sanitizer.
5. Can we put off precautionary measures after getting vaccinated for COVID-19?
It is true that vaccination protects you from seriously getting ill or dying from Covid-19. But, it doesn’t provide total protection from Covid-19.
The reason being that the vaccine provides varied protection to different people. Vaccination doesn’t stop the infected person from transmitting the disease further. And so, precautionary measures should be followed even after getting vaccinated.