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COVID-19 – It’s time to bust some myths!

Dr Jayalakshmi

MBBS; MD; Consultant (Pulmonology)

3 min read

What was the first message you saw today as soon as you woke up in the morning? Did it create a sense of fear and anxiety? Ever since the pandemic has begun, plenty of COVID-19 related information has been shared by us on multiple platforms, irrespective of its credibility or source. Doing this has only caused more confusion and panic, adding to the burden of the pandemic.

Here are some facts about the novel coronavirus and some tips on how we can stay safe during these challenging times.
  • Spreads by contact: Face-to-face interaction without protection can cause the virus to spread through droplet nuclei. It is essential to wear a mask in a close interaction or social setting.
  • Avoid direct contact like hugging, as an infected person can spread the virus through secretions, their hands, and the air through which they breathe out.
  • Infected surfaces: We do not know for sure as to how long surfaces can remain infected after a person has touched it. It can by approximately between two-four days. It’s always good to sanitize UR hands after you touch any surface.
  • Distance of six feet: It is essential to maintain a distance of six feet from any person as the virus doesn’t spread beyond the mentioned distance.
  • Avoid touching UR nose: There is a risk of contracting the virus if you come in contact with the virus and touch UR nose. It’s always best to use a mask or gloves for UR hands when you are in a public setting.

It is essential to wear a mask in a close interaction or social setting.

Infection & criticality

In India, most patients are contracting a mild infection but a significant percentage has a severe illness. Around 40-45% of the patients have asymptomatic infection – where no symptoms are found.

Among those who are symptomatic and visit a doctor, maybe only 2-3 out of 10 people will have severe illness. They may get admitted or later be sent to an ICU or be on ventilation based on the severity. Interestingly, the severity and death rate in India is very less compared to the western countries.

The illness can be severe in diabetics, the obese, those with lung diseases and other illness and where immunity is low. The infection in younger people is milder, while children hardly display any symptoms.

Wellness advice from qualified experts

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Common misconceptions

Testing: A lot of people believe the COVID tests are inaccurate. This is due to the nature of the virus and the time involved for testing. Initially, the virus may not get excreted from the nose or the throat all at the same time. That’s why it is common to get a negative result if you tested early or if you have tested later on in the illness. Usually, it best to test between the 5-8th day of the illness.

Rapid antigen and other various tests: It is commonly believed that the Rapid Antigen Test is inaccurate. Due to this, people tend to take other tests to confirm positivity. But even if you test negative in any other test for COVID, you will be declared COVID-positive because the Rapid-Antigen test is 100% accurate.

Importance of testing and the testing markers

COVID testing is easy and patients can get a proper diagnosis just through a nose or throat swab. It is important to get tested if you experience symptoms. You may have mild symptoms but if you don’t get it tested, there is a chance that you will spread it to other people and they may spread it to many others! The challenge of the illness is not the severity but rather the rapidity with which it spreads. This is why testing is essential.
India tests up to 10 lakh people per day.