IMA Mumbai West Indian Medical Association – Mumbai West ,IMA BUILDING,JUHU, J R MHATRE MARG, MUMBAI 400049

June 25, 2020

Article of the month

Filed under: — IMAMW @ 2:16 pm

Dr Arvind Ghongane, Consulting Physician


1. *We’re not getting a vaccine till next year, possibly not even for a year and a half.* There is no evidence whatsoever that any medicine or therapeutic intervention can prevent or treat COVID infection. We can definitely and very effectively prevent COVID infections by using masks, sanitization and social distancing.

2.  *In the absence of a drug or a vaccine, most of us are going to get infected over the next few weeks / months.  COVID isn’t the plague or Ebola. In about 80% cases this infection would be completely harmless. *Even in the elderly, getting COVID isn’t the equivalent of getting a death sentence.  But, of course, the elderly and those with co-morbid conditions are the most vulnerable and have to be protected.* It’s usually the young, the restless and the earning members who acquire the virus from their daily excursions and give it to the home-bound elderly.

3.  *The only way forward is to ride the storm. COVID isn’t going to magically disappear. About 70% of us will have to get infected for the community to acquire herd immunity.*

4. Herd immunity isn’t real immunity acquired by osmosis: it’s a form of statistical immunity where the uninfected are protected by the previously infected (and cured) individuals around them. This really is the key to understanding how this is going to end. The virus cannot infect (and thrive in) these immune individuals in its immediate milieu and withers way. The uninfected minority in a community is therefore protected by a shield made up of a herd of the previously infected.

5.  *Now, some actionable things: no matter who you are and how old you are, do not step out without a mask. A simple mask is good enough, an N95 is even better, but please do not use N95 masks or Vogmasks with exhaust valves. If you’re using a cotton or a fabric mask, make sure it’s not sieve-like or honeycombed. This leaks air and respiratory droplets. Make sure the mask covers your nose and mouth. It’s instructive to note that even if you’re in the presence of a COVID infected individual and they’re masked and not coughing and you are yourself masked, the probability of you getting the infection is minuscule. The virus doesn’t fly out into your lungs.

6.  *Learn optimal mask hygiene. Consider the outer surface of your mask contaminated and carrying the virus if you’ve been in close proximity of other people. Do not touch the outer surface of the mask. Remove the mask by disengaging the earloops without touching the outer surface and discard it or wash it immediately on return.*

7. Treat every individual you meet as an asymptomatic COVID carrier. Treat every surface you touch as potentially contaminated. That is the meaning of community transmission. Carry a sanitiser on your person. Frequently sanitise your hands after touching surfaces or objects. As we go about our lives, try your best not to get infected. Remember, easing the lockdown doesn’t diminish the virulence or the transmissibility of the virus. On the contrary, it increases it. Your chance of getting infected today is fifteen times more than what it was in the beginning of May. It will be a hundred times more by June-end. Avoid stepping out, as much as possible, particularly for non-essential activities.

Assume that the lock-down persists unabated. Please do not be complacent.”* You’re on your own. Only you can save yourself and your family…*

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