Essay competition 1st Prize sponsored by Shree Orthopedic & Trauma Centre, Belagavi -Competition by myarogya.in & IMA, Belgaum Branch

CAN WE PREVENT THIRD WAVE OF COVID? ROLE OF YOUTH IN THE ENDEAVOUR
COVID like beast is flourishing across the world. Stealthy and deadly, it is reaching out from
densely populated metropolitan cities to unorganized sparsely populated getaways.

It has been
claiming lives of millions of people from the eventful day of 31 December 2019. Two years later
scenes of mass death are now unavoidable in India’s streets. According to Bhramar
Mukherjee, an epidemiologist the actual daily death toll is at least two times higher than
reported for the second wave.


Images of body bags and urgent appeals for medical aid flash through social media. Hate
filled constant criticism to overwhelmed hospitals who had to turn away gasping patients
are shared through Whatsapp messages all add to create an environment of despair.
It will thus not be an exaggeration to say India’s health system is on the brink of collapse.
Hospitals across the country are running out of oxygen supplies, ventilators and beds.

All this while labs are tussling to see straight amongst growing backlogs of COVID-19
tests. Some inconclusive lab reports sour the situation further.


The first wave blindsided the entire nation. In retrospect lack of swift action to cancel
international flights and other transportation methods. Along with gauging the seriousness
early. Earlier this year there was dip in the escalating trend of reported cases leading to
the emergence of an optimistic narrative that India may have quietly achieved herd immunity
due to its comparatively young population and the fact that 66% of its population live in
rural areas.

Though it was later withdrawn when cases started hitting the young and peaked
in rural states. The second wave threw everyone off its course with this new development.
The government’s principal scientific advisor K Vijay Raghavan stated, “Variants are only one
factor of the huge second wave of the Covid-19 that is sweeping the country now.” The twin
factors: complacency and incompetence added to the misery.

Many Indians who had taken
strict precautions last year abandoned their masks and gathered indoors when the general
public consensus prevailed that India had conquered the virus. This relaxation made these
Indians prime prey. New complications were reported including diarrhoea, a rash on skin etc.
reported in comorbid patients are dealt with symptomatically only.


Moreover, increased virus density in the air, the emergence of variant strains and fall back of
public towards safety commitment for leisure-related activities and gathering had led to a second
wave.


Understanding these loopholes in the containment strategies during the past COVID waves
along with predicting will help in mitigating the widespread attack.
Youth’s role can be defined under the following suggestions:


• Division of labor that is a creation of specialized diversified teams for evaluation and
development of these procedures and monitoring at a large scale is required. This will help
to combat the problem of our lack of knowledge to address the viral pathogenesis and
genomic recombination has made us unable to talk fearlessly about recommendations of
these approaches in the case of production of any preventive vaccine or effective drug.
• Making the knowledge of causation and transmission modality understandable to even an
illiterate.
• Tailoring 5 levels of prevention for COVID namely -health promotion, promotion of
specific immunity through vaccination, early recognition and treatment of COVID,
limitation of complications and rehabilitation.
• Large scale awareness and transparency of procedures undertaken will help to reinforce
public safety commitment.
• Development of safety culture by developing set of beliefs, social responsibility especially
amongst dynamically interacting working class will mitigate the spread of disease.
• Overall ramping up interventions like banning mass gatherings and encouraging
mask-wearing decreases no. risk groups especially in hotspots.
• New generation of virologists have the burden of realising the objective of making
the availability of prophylactic and early detection measures.
• We need architectural innovation in building safer treatment and testing facilities.
Contact restrictions, closed hotels, forbidden fireworks during festivities this year have posed a
challenge in particular for the younger people in the society. This dampening of festive mood is
just a small sacrifice. It is high time to realize that it is the youth of the country who will suffer the
long-standing repercussions of how we handle the current situation to combat the coming waves
of COVID.

Rishita Mehta, 1st Year MBBS, JN Medical College Belagavi

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