By Dr. Zulfikar Bux
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Vanderbilt Medical Center
Kaieteur News – The world is facing a second wave of the COVID-19 spread and it is even worse than the first wave. Hospitals worldwide are overwhelmed and countries are now being forced to lockdown and give their medical systems time to recover. Unfortunately, these lockdowns complicate things further, especially in vulnerable systems where they cause many to be placed on the breadline and lead to devastation of economies and lives. In Guyana, we are keeping the ship afloat and I’m hopeful that our case numbers do not increase and overwhelm us. It didn’t have to be this way; evidence is clear that there are options when practiced properly that can avoid lockdowns and keep infections to a minimum. I have spoken about some of these before and I will share with you how we can be able to live responsibly and avoid lockdowns during the pandemic.
Defying recommendations and being rebellious seems to be the trend these days. The virus thrives in such reckless environments and it is the main reason why the world is facing this second wave. All we have to do is the following and we can be able to sustain our livelihood during the pandemic:
-Wear a mask
-Distance ourselves from others as much as possible; be sure to avoid crowds
-Avoid gathering in closed spaces especially if there is no free flow of air
-Keep clean and remain home if you do not have to go out for necessities
EARLY USE OF TREATMENT
Many countries are now starting to show evidence that early use of the following medications decreases deaths and hospitalizations:
-Vitamins C and D and Zinc
Countries such as India, Australia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Greece, etc., have started one or more of the above treatments and have lower death rates than others that are not using them. A recent study from Egypt showed that there were no deaths and only one (1) hospitalization in 100 patients who had COVID-19 and used Ivermectin early. I remain baffled why these treatments are not being used widely, especially given how cheap and safe they are and how long they have been in existence.
PROTECT THE HIGH RISK
It is known that the elderly and those with existing conditions such as Diabetes, Cardiovascular diseases, Cancer, etc., are at higher risk of dying or becoming hospitalized with the disease. Emphasis should therefore be placed on protecting this population and provide ease of access to services for them so that they do not have to be out and about. Some countries are distributing vitamins (especially Vitamin D) to their high risk populations so that their immune systems can be prepared in the event that they are infected. The young that live with high risk relatives, need to be even more responsible to ensure they do not take home the infection to them.
DON’T GO OVERBOARD
While the evidence is getting clearer that lockdowns can be avoided, it doesn’t mean that we can go back to how we were before the pandemic. Some have misinterpreted this and feel that they can socialize as per normal and let their guard down. We still need to find the balance and not open up as if things are normal. Activities that can be done from home should be encouraged and those that are not essential to economical sustainability should still be avoided. The more we gather the higher the odds will be of our cases rising.
I have shared with you today a plan that includes us all doing our part to prevent a second wave. By now, we should all be aware of the risks and where they lie. Being responsible while doing our daily necessities will allow us to sustain our livelihood while avoiding the dangerous second wave.
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