The Covid panic in India
The current second wave of the Civid19 has caught India off-guard. The numbers of the infected and sick are overwhelming. They are everywhere. Asymptomatic Covid +ve, Symptomatic Covid +ve as well as symptomatic Covid negative. While the second group is undergoing the worst punishments of life in the forms of being social outcaste and unable to get institutionalized care they deserve, the first and the third group are proving somewhat the super spreader. The first group knowingly distrusts the Covid report and the last group is telling everyone of possible being Covid +ve, but our system doesn’t trust his version and is ready to make him spread the disease. We have indeed a very strange system. Amidst all these, the social health takes the beating. No one knows who is infected and who is not. Hence, there are many fear elements in the present 2nd wave. Both UK and African variants are more infective and with the fact that people are not being aware of who is infected and who is not, more people are at the risk of getting infected.Further, with more and more people landing in the hospitals and getting no beds, there are general apprehension that if they get infected, they too will not get hospital admission.
Every bit of fear to life has a panic element built within…and so does the Covid fear also causing. In the present situation in India when the hospital infra has fallen much short of requirements, there is also a panic of inability to meeting the Covid needs…of hosp admissions…of oxygen supplies…of drugs and so on. Hence, out of the panic of ‘what if I need and don’t get’, some sort of artificial shortage has started… of non-serious cases getting admitted to hosp…of hording of oxygen and drugs.
Under such huge crisis of supplemental oxygen shortage for the Covid patients, even ICMR or Min of health is doing hardly any good by not issuing an interim amendment to their guidelines. Presently SPO2 levels of <94% recommends hospitalization and supplemental oxygen breathing. Clearly a large section of specialist doctors feel that the current panic of oxygen could partly be resolved if ICMR too passes the interim relief of providing oxygen only if SPO2 falls below 90%. When approached, ICMR, Ministry of Health of the PM headed task force have not bothered to take cognizance. These agencies must issue advisory to treat the maximum possible cases at homes…something the people and consulting doctors are already advising, but ICMR / Ministry of Health are trying to look the other way, shying away from responsibilities.
As a result, many of the people are consuming oxygen who don’t need, many taking anti-viral drugs who should not. This panic is driving many to the Gurudwaras where some resourceful Sikhs are providing free Oxygen Lungar (100% oxygen breathing) to all those who ever come. Among those who go, there are some actually needy for whom 100% oxygen is actually indicated but most are those who come out of apprehensions, most with their SPO2 readings in 97-90% ranges. This is causing an unseen damage by creating O2 shortages elsewhere. The resourceful Sikh foundations get manage to get the Oxygen cylinders from the suppliers with influence. These Oxygen cylinders what should have gone to the needy hospitals, did actually landed at the Lungar.
There are plenty of social media posts too spreading misinformation and creating panic in turn. Here is one of the posts “Corona Kashayam” that a PhD (technical) holder was found spreading…
Some useless products in the market too are being promoted by the ignorant. A miniature oxygen cylinder of total 12 ltr 100% Oxygen at NTP is suggesting Covid patients to buy it. It will fall short of even 2 minutes of ventilation hence, provides O2 in puffs…like drugs; little realizing that the puffs will not raise either the concentration or the PAO2 in the lungs. The public feels the oxygen too works like metered sprays.
Dis-information is nothing new in India. The present farmers’ protests are purely based upon misinformation that their lands will be taken by Adani/Ambani/Govt and they and their children will die of hunger…that Adani/Ambani will buy all crops and black-market it. Not that the Sikhs who have made the protest their cultural and religious issue, do not have brains. However, it is the Pappu (ignorant & childish) narrative finding acceptance among the people. A similar misinformation was spread by Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, the ‘Liar Trio of India’ after the Citizenship Amendment Act when they said that CAA will put the Muslims of India in detention camps…and the herd of Muslims believed them. The outcome was before us…the many arsons, violence, killings and the Shaheenbaghs. Any person aware of Indian history could say with certainties that the misinformation about the Covid and various related issues are not the last. Come another day, another situation of mass disorder, another group of Indian population will be ready to bite the another sets of misinformation…by the same or another sets of liars and the Pappus.
Some of the political leaderships too are not doing any great to deny the current shortage of hospital infrastructures and the ensuing panics…of non-availabilities of hospital beds, of oxygen cylinders for individuals, of oxygen availabilities in the hospitals, of shortage of the lifesaving /Covid drugs and so on. These leaders are misleading the citizen by denying the shortages in own states and that sets the patients heading from one to other hospitals… made to suffer. Many of the Chief Ministers are culprit of it. They must desist from claiming that their respective states are not facing the crunch.
“I got a call at 8:20 in the morning from Mrs Rathi in Delhi…the whole family is infected with Covid19 with mild symptoms though. She has been able to get Remdisvir and Flaviflu for her husband but she herself and her 2 children could not. History was of 3-5 days of infection with fever <101 deg F, occasional cough, SPO2 of 96% or above. She is feeling anxious for the lack of drugs for the rest of the members in family. She expected me to arrange the above drugs -Dr V N Jha, a telemedicine consultant on the national helpline for Covid19”.
There can’t be a better example of Covid Panic than the above. A mild case of Covid is administered Remdisvir. Even though there are 24x7 helpline, dedicated ICMR and Health Ministry’s Covid web page having all information including those for general population yet, they don’t access those sites. Even highly qualified people fell prey to the misinformation.