B Geetanjali, Director, AIIMS Bhubaneswar
The first death due to COVID-19 was reported in Odisha occurred in Bhubaneswar on 6 April 2020. Thereafter, the number of deaths due to Covid-19 is increasing with each passing day in the state. So far, the state has reported 548 deaths due to the invisible virus, which includes 200 death reports from the district of Ganjam only. At least six doctors in the state have also succumbed to the disease in this period. With alarming rise in the number Covid-19 cases, the situation is gradually worsening in the state capital; Bhubaneswar.
We speak to B Geetanjali, Director of AIIMS Bhubaneswar about this pandemic situation of Covid-19.
What are the reasons behind the increasing number of Covid infection?
The main reason behind the remarkable increase in the number of Covid-19 cases is the perception of people regarding the pandemic. Many people are thinking that everything is fine and the pandemic period is over. People are moving everywhere and are not taking the necessary precautions, which keeps the disease at bay, and as a result, they are coming in direct contact with other patients. But it is a highly contagious disease.
Reports of deaths due to Covid-19 patients are coming from everywhere. What are the reasons behind the deaths?
There could be many reasons behind a death. When a person gets infected, it affects the lungs of the person. If proper treatment is not given to a patient, then his/her respiratory system gets affected and it may lead to the death.
Earlier, it was said that the elderly people are most vulnerable. But it is being seen that the youth are also dying. What is your take?
It is true that the elderly have many diseases, for which they are not able to combat the virus. But if someone is young in age, but a co-morbid, there is every possibility that he/she will be badly affected by the disease. Moreover, some youths are not taking this disease seriously. Even some youths are not going to hospital despite being affected by the disease. If the oxygen saturation level of a patient reduces and he is not given the oxygen support, then the patient will be seriously affected. If a patient is young but co-morbid, he/she will be badly affected by this disease.
What kind of diseases are the main causes of Covid death?
Old-age people who have respiratory and lung disease besides disease like diabetes, hypertension, abnormal blood clotting, and coronary heart diseases are very vulnerable.
Tell us something about patients who are asymptomatic and are recovering without any medication.
We are yet to know what the whole process is. It is too early to say how they are recovering. But I think some people may have strong immunity and hence, they are convalescing without medication.
How can a normal person boost his/her immunity?
Since we have nothing in our hands, people can take Vitamin-C tablets, honey, ginger and turmeric to increase their immunity. On the other hand, our pharmaceutical industry and researchers are working hard to get vaccines. Now, we are using some old drugs in a certain amount to reduce the severity of the disease. But these are not appropriate anti-viral drugs for Covid. So, we have to wait for the proper anti-viral.
People need to be safe. They have to stop going out unless there is any urgency and stay home, maintain proper hygiene, listen to the instructions of the government, drink a lot of water, stop eating junk food and eat traditional food. It is good for our health.
Do you think that lockdown or shutdown can reduce the number of Covid patients?
Definitely it can. When people stop going out, there will be less contact with other people. This will help us to reduce the number of Covid patients. We can take the example of other countries. They have also managed the number of Covid patients because of this.
When will the crisis come to an end?
The situation will persist till we get the vaccine. Even if we get the vaccine, we will have to see how long the vaccine can immune us from the virus.
Written By Subhra Kar