Report : Anustup Kundu
Dr Raja Dhar of Fortis Hospital told about Coronavirus (COVID-19)
News Desk, News Nation 360 : Coronavirus, which originated at Wuhan, China, emerged as a serious concern to public health. In the middle of rumours, myths and panic, Dr Raja Dhar, Director of the Department of Pulmonology at Fortis Anandapur urge people to not be perturbed. The concern about COVID-19 is justified. However, the death rate from COVID-19 is much lower than other viruses that have caused an epidemic in the past. With SARS the death rate was 7 to 12%. Whereas with COVID-19 the death rate is 2 to 3%. Speaking about the symptoms Dr Raja Dhar said that the symptoms unfortunately of any viral illness are more or less the same. One gets a fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Q : One of the most frequently asked questions about coronavirus is how it is caused and spread?
A : The most important way in which any respiratory viral illness is spread is droplet infection. When someone sneezes or coughs, they let out fine droplet particles and people who are standing within a distance of 6 feet get affected because these droplets go in through the nose, mouth and deposit themselves in the breathing tract of the individual in front. This is true for all respiratory viral illness and also true for COVID-19.
Q : How is COVID-19 different?
A : Most respiratory viruses would settle on hard surfaces such as tables, chairs and other objects and die an immediate death. The difference with COVID-19 is that they stay alive on that surface for hours. Thus when people touch these surfaces they can carry the virus on their fingers. Later when they rub their mouth or face or eyes, it gets transmitted into the body. The two most important preventive measure of COVID-19 are:
1. Wearing a mask
2. Washing hands
Ideally one should wash his/her hands with soap and when that is not possible clean your hands with an alcohol gel which contains at least 60% alcohol. This manages to kill the virus.
Q : Is it right to use a mask every day for all individuals at all times to protect themselves from COVID-19?
A : The answer is NO. The government of India or any government for that matter ask one to use the mask under two situations:
1. If someone has a cough and cold, he/she wear a mask because it protects the people around him/her from getting the cold that he/she has. This applies for all viruses including COVID-19.
2. Whenever someone is at a large gathering, for example, a theatre, airport or a hospital, one can wear a mask to protect him/herself. But just wearing a mask all the time is unnecessary. It is important not to panic but important to take the protective measures being proposed by the government and other private agencies. Make sure to use a hand sanitizer, minimize the number of times one touched his/her face regularly, wear a mask if you are going to what is perceived a high-risk area, and wear a mask when one has a cough and cold.