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Corona, Covid-19, SARS-CoV-2


If you have a cough, fever and difficulty breathing immediately contact nearby corona testing facility.

If you have fever and live in an area where dengue or malaria case are reported sometimes, seek medical care immediately.

As per WHO


Do not read this page as any authoritative essay. I do not know much about Biology. But you may find this article concise and useful!

Introduction >>

Corona-viruses are a family of viruses that range from the common cold to 'Middle East Respiratory Syndrome' (MERS). COVID-19 is the name given by WHO to the disease that is caused by a new (novel) coronavirus. This newly found coronavirus is now called SARS-CoV-2. It is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or even exhales. These droplets float in the air for some time, and then fall on floors, tabletops or surfaces. An infected person may transfer viruses to objects (like knobs, utensils) and other surfaces s/he touches if his/her hand has traces of saliva, nasal discharge, etc. This disease COVID-19 is now a pandemic.

One can get infected by breathing in the virus if s/he is near to someone who either has COVID-19 or is a carrier of this virus. One can also get infected by touching a contaminated object or surface (where the droplets containing viruses have landed) and then touching his/her eyes, nose or mouth. This virus can live on surfaces like plastic and metal for at least 2 days. So keep cleaning and disinfecting all counters, handles, knobs, and other surfaces others might have touched. If you touch a surface which might have been touched by some (who do not share living space with you), either wash your hands by soap or use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your face by bare hand, when not in your home, use handkerchief.

History >>

Since the beginning of this millennium, the world has seen outbreaks like SARS, MERS, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, Zika, Ebola, etc.

There may be many reasons for these outbreaks:

  • The world is well connected so the chances of (quick) spread is greater.
  • The pathogens causing these outbreaks are novel and deadly!
  • May be lifestyle and immunity is now an issue! Enjoying nightlife and spending more time indoors resulting in less exposure to sun. Sedentary life style.
  • Time taken to make effective vaccines and medicines is still not less than a year!

I used to think India being not so resourceful and careful will suffer if a deadly virus spread. Luckily, India avoided major outbreaks of these diseases. So I wasn't alarmed when news from Wuhan started appearing! But some of the air-traveler's brought this virus to India.

Since March 2020, we accepted that COVID-19 is a dangerous pandemic. I never agreed with people who said it (pandemic) is going to be over in few months. Now I have my doubts that even when most of us get vaccinated it will be over. Newer strains may keep coming like ordinary flu. Whether this virus is about to stay forever like FLU?

Vaccines

We need to take vaccines even if they are not 100% safe and 100% effective. We need to take a shot (of vaccine) if our job requires us to meet a lot of people. Medical service providers not only need to interact with lots of people but most of them are patients; so they need to take vaccine shots (even if those are not very safe) when it is available for them.

Even after taking vaccine we need to follow Covid-19 protocols.

Strains

Whether this novel Coronavirus is mutating faster than ordinary FLU viruses? Because of favorable conditions (mainly low temperature and lower humidity) generally we have more FLU cases in winter.

Whether some strains of this novel Corona virus are more dangerous than the other strains of it? One strain is now proven to be more contagious than the other strains in UK! Some viruses can jump (transmit) between species, there are chances of significant mutations from those jumps. Authorities of Denmark say they’ve found some genetic changes in this virus in some minks. They further add that this mutation might undermine the effectiveness of present vaccines.

Whether we will have a vaccine that will work against even the future mutations of the SARS-CoV-2?

Very very few COVID-19 survivors again turned positive. Whether immunity is specific to a strain only?

India & Covid >>

Fortunately during winter, number of Covid-19 infections in India declined day by day! May be humidity wasn't very low or strain(s) in India were/are less virulent.

Number of Covid cases kept falling may be because most Indians generally follow guidelines/protocols if they think those are for their benefit. Even most of those who hate present government can be seen following protocols. Still I think we don't know reasons for falling rate of Covid infections (in India).

Authorities in India said that most of those who tested positive for COVID-19 are asymptomatic. What percentage of them will become carriers?

I was skeptical with projections of some US university that by February 2021, India may have more than 200,000 new patients daily. I thought that by that time metros and well as most cities in India may have well passed their peaks.

Medicines and Treatments

Is Plasma Therapy effective in at least some cases?

Flu drug called Favipiravir and Dexamethasone (very cheap) are currently being used in various parts of the World. The much talked about [Ebola] drug Remdesivir failed in reducing mortality or delaying ventilation of the Covid-19 patients to any significant level.

Now and then we hear about completion of successful trials of various vaccines. But what about useful drugs and treatment methods? Russia first declared its vaccine called 'Sputnik-V' (claiming efficacy rate of more than 90%). There are other vaccines [in west] that have successfully completed all the trials; these vaccines also claimed more than 90% efficacy rate. India has its indigenous vaccine called 'Covaxin' (BBV152) that has more than 60% efficacy rate! There is some news about cocktail of Sputnik-V and Oxford's vaccine. They are even starting trials of Sputnik-Lite!

Probably future variants (strains) may require re-vaccination; So, Governments should select the vaccine that is not costly for mass vaccination. Governments should also ensure cold chain distribution.

Masks

Masks are better than simple cloths like handkerchiefs, scarf etc. >>

Because if side of the cloth gets reversed it will undo the purpose.

As washing hands with soap does the purpose of removing the protective lipid layer of the virus (and killing them), we should put washable masks in water containing detergent after using and before washing it. Sunlight has rays like ultraviolet, which are harmful to viruses. If chances of air transmission in your area can be considered rare, then it is better to dry masks and your cloths in sunlight.

If your mask breaths with you it has a perfect fit. Masks are also helpful in keeping our nose warm during winter.

Not only masks but covered (safety) spectacles should also be used while in public / crowded places. Apparently the pathogens can sometimes enter our body through eyes (nasolacrimal duct) also.

What to do?

Don't remain in a crowd and leave the crowded places as soon as possible to avoid infection. Two meter distance is compulsory to maintain.

Don't rush for a vaccine, nor avoid one. If authorities or your physician think you should be vaccinated, let them vaccinate you.

We don't know that vaccines which are becoming available now will work on most of the mutations of this virus. One has to improve immunity. Immunity can be increased by doing exercises (how easy it is to preach) and taking supplements like Vitamin C, D, Zinc etc. Consult your doctor and get you blood tested for deficiencies etc. Sleeping for about 8 hours is good. It may help in maintaining positive thinking.

Don't let your vitamin D level plunge.Soak some daylight specially in winter. It also helps us keep warm. One study says serum zinc levels lower than 50 µg/dl is problematic. In most cases it is helpful to take a regular doze of zinc as soon as you feel like catching cold. If you are feeling healthy and fit, do some exercise!

Low Temperature helps viruses live longer on surfaces (outside hosts) and low humidity decreases our immune response against viruses. So do not sleep in temperature below 25 degree Celsius and do not use dehumidifying functions of Air Conditioners. If possible do not use ACs at all.


Whether the patients in ICUs should be given humid air to breath and a warmer to compensate for cooler temperature around them?


If you have been inhaling steam in the past to fight the common cold, you may do that if you feel similar symptoms. If you have never inhaled steam it is better to take medical advice or start with inhaling vapors of warm water. As humidity helps so vapors of warm water may help some. The hot steam from boiling water may be harmful to airways and lungs in some cases. Also, it is not easy to handle boiling water. We have to be careful while using steam inhalers or vaporisers. Do not add oils or balms to boiling water.

Gargling with lukewarm water (or solutions) may also help some!


If you have to go to work in the early morning, you may avoid taking bath before going out. It may be better to bathe after coming home than to bathe before going out. Do not bathe frequently as good bacteria help your skin.

It's better to wash our newly bought food stock in salt water before cooking/using them. Use some cheap unbranded salt. Put lots of salt in a tub full of water, first wash those vegetables (like coriander leaves) and fruits (like grape) that are consumed without peeling. In the end wash roots which contains soil traces. Instead of ordinary salt some people use baking soda. Washing helps in getting rid of other contamination as chances of getting the virus through food items is rare.

If anything is delivered to your home, ask the person who brought it to put the item in a corner. If it is not urgent please do not touch or open it for a day or two. If it is urgent spray some diluted bleach (sodium hypochlorite), washing soda (sodium carbonate) or alcohol based sanitizer on to it before opening the packaging. Sanitize your hand after handling the item.


We all may personally (not just financially) get the brunt of this virus.

To console someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19, we can say to him/her: "It is likely that most of us are going to get infected sooner or later like the common cold. So fight it out."


What to do with Cash?

If possible pay and receive electronically. But some times we cannot avoid using cash.

If you are out shopping, take a pouch or small carry-bag with you. Ask the shopkeeper to put change s/he returns in that pouch. The next day you can use that change.

If you are running a shop keep two cash boxes, mark them as 'Even' and 'Odd'. Suppose you start this practice from an even date, put your all your cash in the box marked 'Odd'. Now on this day (with even date), ask your customers to put cash they give in the box marked 'Even', and give them the change from the box marked 'Odd'. Next day (odd date) when you open your counter, transfer the remaining cash from the box marked 'Odd' to the box marked 'Even'. Now accept the cash in the box 'Odd' and give change from the box 'Even'.

Which drugs are now known to be ineffective? >>

Now we know, the HIV drug combination ritonavir/lopinavir is ineffective in treating COVID-19. Also the Malaria drug HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) is not being used by some doctors.


Regularly Updated; Initially Published: 13 Apr 2020;

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Future? >>

Is COVID-19 going to eliminate sizable (say 0.5%) population worldwide in 2-3 years? I do not wish to become a negative person? Whether we will have timely and effective vaccination and treatment from all the present as well as future strains of SARS-CoV-2? Time will tell.


Nutrients are important not only for physical health but also for mental health!


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