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Since the outbreak, COVID-19, the global pandemic, has tested the medical capabilities and economy of almost all developed and developing nations. It is continuing, and its end is still in vain. In this unsettled situation, every one of us is staying in fear and turmoil that leaves us with plenty of questions.
While the leaders of nations are worried about controlling the virus and holding the economy, common people are puzzled with ‘n’ number of questions that are left unanswered due to the tight situation. At Texila, we encourage our expert faculty members to offer clarifications to common questions that everyone has. Dr. Dheeraj Bansal, the Dean of the College of Medicine gave a series of interviews with Radio Gayana. These are excerpts from his interview on Friday, March 20, 2020.
On his interview to Radio Guyana 89.5 FM, Dr. Dheeraj Bansal, clarified many doubts raised on behalf of common public by Ms. Sophia Dolphin of the FM station and by participants on the air:
Is It Ok to Travel?
No, it is not ok to travel during this period. This is a highly contagious virus. We should [have] all the necessary precautions. Try to minimize getting infected. Traveling at this time is highly risky.
- Can You Be InfectedIf Your Neighbor Is Infected?
There is no way to detect who is infected as persons can be asymptomatic. If someone is not coughing or does not have a fever, it doesn’t mean they are not infected, and getting close to them can give you the infection.[Dr. Bansal emphasizes the importance of social distancing. There are primarily two ways you can become infected:
too close to an infected person and inhale the droplets coming out andtouching a surface infected with the virus and then touching your face
We can avoid being infected if we maintain distance from others, as we do not know whether the person is infected or not. Better maintain social distancing.]
Can You Get Infected by Touching Money?
Yes, you can since any object touched by an infected person can transmit the disease, including money. Money can be contaminated as well, so every time you touch money, either sanitize or wash your hands with soap and water.
What Are the Stages of the COVID-19?
A) Infection is imported into our community.
B) Local transmission
C) Community transmission
D) The infection becomes overwhelming (out of control)
We are all in this together: practice social distancing, keep washing your hands, remain calm, and follow instructions as per the advice of the Health Professionals.
Should There Be Social Distancing with Spouse?
If a person is suspected of having the infection, then the necessary precautions are to be practiced. The spouse should wear a mask, wash hands frequently, and maintain social distance.
What Can We Do to Stop the Transmission?
Practice social distancing, use protective gear such as masks, and follow proper hygiene.
What Does the Term Lockdown Mean?
Lockdown is an emergency protocol that usually prevents infected people from spreading the virus to other individuals and thus helps in controlling the spread of the virus.
What Is the Meaning of Social Distancing?
Keep your distance from persons. Stand at least 6 feet away from a person. Avoid hugs, handshakes, or any physical contact.
Is It Safe to Have a Delivery Done at the Hospital?
Yes, it is safe to have the delivery at the hospital.[Dr. Bansal advised pregnant women to take the necessary precautions when going to the hospital.]
Is There an Injection (Vaccine) or Treatment Available for the COVID-19?
There is no vaccine or treatment currently available for COVID-19. There are currently trials being done with the malaria drug “Hydroxychloroquine,” but there is no significant evidence yet.
How Risky Is It to be Transporting Passengers Using Public Transportation?
Open the window so that the vehicle is adequately ventilated. Do not shake hands, use of mask, and sanitize your hand frequently. Sit as far as possible from other passengers; do not take a bus that is crowded.
New York City Is Currently on Lockdown. Will the Same Be Implemented in Guyana?
It all depends on how we go from here. If everyone takes the necessary precautions and if we are able to curb the community transmission, then we will not have to effect a lockdown. If we do move to community transmission, then we will definitely need to effect a full lockdown.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19?
Cough, fever, tiredness, and difficulty in breathing (severe cases)[Dr. Bansal stated that this is not the first time there has been a Corona outbreak. Dr. Bansal indicated that we had different strains of Corona outbreaks, for example, the SARS outbreak in China and the Corona outbreak in the Middle East.]
Can I Go to the Gym?
It is better to avoid going to crowded places such as a Gym. Also, in Gym, the equipment is shared by many and thus increasing the chances of transmission. It is good to avoid large crowds. It might be better to get your daily workout by going to the parks. There too, keep social distancing.
What Cleaning Products Are Best for Cleaning Homes?
Do not underestimate the power of soap and water. It will do the trick. Sanitizer with alcohol from known companies and cleaning agents are good. Ensure sanitizer contains more than 60% of alcohol.[In closing, Dr. Bansal encouraged the viewers to practice proper hygiene and social distancing. Build your immune system. Don’t panic, take the necessary precautions, and remain calm.]
Answers to all the above questions are the need of the hour. Dr. Bansal had answered them clearly and precisely. In this hard time, we should not panic and make others panic.
At the same time, please follow all the instructions from health professionals and support the initiatives taken by the government. Most of them may look like basic hygiene etiquette that we failed to do in our day-to-day life. But, do not disdain any medical instruction and ignore it, as it may save lives.
This unprecedented situation can soon be normalized if we support and maintain hygiene. It is all in our hands. Sanitize, stay healthy, and save lives!