Something is not right in India. Today, the country reported 346,786 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours, with 2,624 deaths – world highest daily phone number since the pandemic started last year. Overall, nearly 190,000 people died from COVID in the country, while more than 16.6 million people were infected.
The new outbreak in India is so severe that hospitals lack oxygen and beds, and many sick people turn their backs.
New Zealand, Hong Kong, the UK and the US have either banned direct flights to and from India, or advised people not to travel at the same time; and the list could be longer.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who wanted to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with the country, was forced to cancel a planned trip to India next week and instead, plan to meet with President Narendra Modi.
For a country where the number of COVIDs appeared to have dropped significantly just a few weeks ago, what happened in India?
The Indian variant, known as B.1.617, appears to be devastated domestic. Since April 15, India has reported more than 200,000 cases of coronavirus infection per day, and the country’s capital Delhi recently announced a week-long lockout after increasing cases there. overwhelms the health care system.
“If we don’t impose a shutdown right now, we could face a bigger calamity,” Delhi Chief Arvind Kejriwal said as he addressed the city on Indian television on Thursday. April 19. Worryingly, bed spaces and oxygen supply in the hospital Seems to be dragging on, with reports of sick patients leaving the hospital and social media feeds filled with distraught family members who their loved ones are unable to receive. get the health care they need.
On Wednesday, as the number of COVIDs was growing, Delhi’s supreme court took an unusual step by publicly criticizing the central government and its approach to managing the oxygen crisis. of the country. The court is hearing the Max Hospital lawsuit seeking urgent help to address the hypoxia the hospital is facing at six hospitals in the capital. “Human life is not important to the State. We are shocked and dismayed when the government does not seem to care about the extremely urgent need for medical oxygen, ”Bench said. “We direct the Center to provide a safe passage … so that those supplies are not obstructed for any reason,” it said. “Hell will shatter [if oxygen is not supplied]. “Words hurt the government in times of crisis.
It is not entirely clear why this increase happened in India, but it is likely due to the crowded events held during the preparation of the election – President Modi himself went in. campaign to resolve election protests in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on March 30 when the proliferation of cases begins. Large groups and social gatherings during religious festivals also play a part, as is the reopening of public spaces and the loosening of lockdown measures that take place gradually throughout 2020 with The final “unlocking” of the restrictions takes place in December 2020.
There are also concerns about the emergence of new variants of coronavirus in India. It is thought that the current domestically dominant strain is a variant identified in the UK for the first time, and has been shown to be 60% more likely to be transmitted between people.
On March 25, it was further announced that New “double mutation” variant was discovered in India, now known as the “Indian variant”. This development is what scares other nations.
The Indian authorities do not believe that this new variant has yet to become the domestically dominant COVID strain, but it is likely to contribute to the increase in numbers.
The genome sequencing of the new variant has shown that it has two important mutations:
1. E484Q Mutation: This is similar to the E484K mutation identified in the Brazilian and South African variants, which has also been reported in recent months. Of concern is that this mutation may alter portions of the coronavirus mutant protein. The mutant protein forms part of the coronavirus outer layer and is what viruses use to come into contact with human cells. Once exposed, the coronavirus then uses the mutant protein to bind to human cells, invade them, and infect them. The immune response that the vaccine stimulates produces antibodies that specifically target the viral mutant protein. It is therefore of concern that if a mutation alters the shape of the mutant protein significantly, antibodies may not be able to recognize and neutralize the virus effectively, even in humans. have been vaccinated. Scientists are testing whether this is the case for the E484Q mutation.
2. L452R mutation: This was also found in a variant believed to be the cause of the California outbreak. This variant is thought to increase the ability of the mutant protein to bind to the human host cell, thereby increasing its infectivity. One mutation study also showed it could help the virus avoid neutralizing antibodies that both a vaccine and a previous infection could produce, although this is still being tested.
This new wave in India has been devastating the country. There is a need for a coordinated response between the Indian states and central governments to regulate the supply of oxygen and essential drugs if the number of COVID-related deaths is controlled. There is also a concern that we do do not know the actual number of deaths from COVID, because some people died at home before going to a hospital and many others in India, especially in rural areas, have difficulty in accessing testing facilities.
Urgent pressure needs to be lifted from the healthcare system and the only way to do so is to strengthen immunization programs, strengthen social segregation procedures, and reapply containment measures. .
In Doctor’s Surgery: Teaching medical students during a pandemic
One of my passions as a doctor is being able to pass my knowledge on to the doctors of tomorrow. I have done that for many years and am a senior lecturer at two UK universities.
Much of the teaching I do involves sending my students to talk and see patients. This has been a challenge for the past 12 months because it is too risky to bring patients into surgery so that they can meet with students, and patients with a tendency to have the illness that students need to see are often shielded to reduce the likelihood get sick. COVID-19.
Medical students have joined hands to help hospitals devastated by COVID around the world, and their help has been welcomed by many. But we also need to prepare them for a world outside of COVID and for the limited amount of time we have with them, to ensure they are prepared for a wide range of medical conditions from physical to mental. . But how can we do that if they can’t treat the patient as usual?
Technology is the answer. Our operating room, where I work as a family doctor in Bradford, north England, is fortunate to have a laboratory of clinical skills students can learn from. This is a room with “model” body parts that students can use for testing purposes. .
Students can participate in surgery and initialization, hold telephone consultations with patients, and talk to actual patients calling about their illnesses. The students recorded a history by talking to the patient and trying to come up with a management plan that they then ran over to me or another doctor for approval.
Because students cannot physically check on patients, we then make a list of the tests students will do and, when their list of clinics is complete, move on to the thorough laboratory. clinical function. I then asked them to practice the test they did on the models. This may include a chest exam, a rectal exam, or a vaginal exam. The patterns can be adjusted so that each time a student uses them, they perform a different test finding, such as a new tumor or unusual breathing sound. It is actually quite smart.
Although it will never really replace the real thing, this approach has allowed us to maintain health education throughout a pandemic – something that has challenged medical schools around the world.
And now, some good news: Exercise can lower your risk of getting COVID
A new one learn The Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland has shown that regular exercise can reduce the risk of infections like COVID-19 by up to 37%. Researchers conducted a comprehensive systematic review of 16,698 epidemiological studies worldwide published between January 1980 and April 2020, with renowned epidemiologists and immunologists. world from University London (UCL) in UK and Ghent University (UGent) in Belgium, as well as fitness and sports scientists from Cádiz University in Spain and a public health consultant from NHS Lanarkshire (NHSL) in the UK.
They found that 30-minute exercise helps you get rid of shortness of breath, and sweating five times a week boosts your immune response to infectious diseases. It is thought that regular exercise increases the number of immune cells in the body that act on the first line of defense – the lining of antibodies. These cells are responsible for identifying foreign agents or “germs” in the body without impairing the rest of the immune system, so it’s completely safe and protects you against infectious diseases. infection.
We’ve known for a long time about the benefits exercise can have on a person’s overall mental and physical health. Now, during COVID, it has also been shown to help boost your immune system. So the message is clear; Go outdoors and exercise if you can or go to the gym if it matches your local COVID guidelines. If neither, your kitchen or living room is the perfect place to do a 30-minute dance, dance or whatever floats your boat!
Readers’ question: Is it safe to go to my hospital during a pandemic?
Over the past 12 months, people have been repeatedly told that the safest place for them is home and hospitals are busy handling COVID-19 patients. While that is true, it is important to remember that other illnesses are still not going away.
I have found that many of my patients do not show up for their appointments because of other medical problems because they are concerned about getting COVID or think their illness is less important than the coronavirus. General physician surgery hospitals and organizations around the world have gone to great lengths to make large portions of their buildings COVID-free. This means they can be used for services that are not COVID related, and the staff working there will not pass to cover COVID wards or clinics. So if you get an appointment to attend a clinic or hospital service, it’s really important that you go.