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‘Take everyday preventive actions to reduce spread of flu, coronavirus infection’

With November seeing a steady rise in cases, experts advise precaution

Written by Parul | Chandigarh | November 26, 2020 10:37:55 am
Passengers check with thermometer Before boarding a bus in Punjab. (Express photo by Jasbir Malhi)

The month of November has been harsh on Chandigarh. The city has seen a steady rise in Covid-19 cases in the last 20 days, with more than 2,200 cases reported. The active ratio is now at 6.7 per cent while the total number of active cases is 1,117 and the test positivity ratio is at a high of 12.5.

In the last one week, the number of new infections has grown by an average of 0.8 per cent, with more than 34 deaths recorded in this month, with a 15 per cent rise, as compared to October, which had about 1,800 cases in 20-22 days. On November 25, there were 98 Covid-19 positive patients in the Nehru Hospital Extension, with 22 in the ICU.

The festive season, movement of people outside their homes, a lack of social distancing in markets, restaurants, inter-state travel, lack of Covid-appropriate behaviour and a dip in temperature have contributed to a steady rise in new cases. This was a situation public health experts had warned about, with several precautionary measures recommended to avoid the second wave. As compared to October, the number of tests has increased consistently — from 906 tests on November 4 to 1,388 on November 23.

Prof Jagat Ram, director, PGI, says by not wearing masks and not following Covid-appropriate behaviour, people are contributing to the rise in cases. “Till we have a vaccine, it is imperative that we wear a proper mask, wash our hands often and maintain social distancing of 1.5 metre to prevent Covid-19 infection,” he says.

Dr Sonu Goel, Professor, Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, PGIMER, says people need to statistically understand the numbers to term it a second wave. “We can expect a rise in infection and in relative terms, with the number of cases of normal flu, a seasonal phenomenon, also on the rise. Any virus gets a congenial environment to survive when the temperature is low. Pollutants and particles will get entrapped in the lower air and all viruses will get a good environment to live. The precautions to prevent a rise in infections remain the same. People with asthma and respiratory issues need to remain indoors as much as possible, and protect ourselves from exposure, pollution and cold. We need to prevent a surge with our behaviour.”

Dr Parvinder Chawla, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, said, “At our flu clinic, weekly footfalls had shown a steady decline over the last few weeks from the maximum of 262 in the second week of September. The footfalls, after falling to 47 in the last week of October, have started rising again in November. The proportion of SARS-CoV-2 results reported positive has also shown a concomitant rise.”

Dr Vikas Bhutani, an Internal Medicine specialist, recommends that people should take everyday preventive actions to reduce the spread of flu and COVID. “Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with viruses, at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Persons with co-morbid conditions and at old age should avoid being out in cold or attending outdoor gatherings in this chilly weather to minimise the risk of getting infected.”

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