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COVID-19 disease - Answers to your questions

Love Matters India organised five youth consultations across the country on the Coronavirus Pandemic. In these consultations, concerns and challenges caused by the pandemic were discussed with college students. Lockdown, school/college closures, illness in the family, financial difficulties and vaccine hesitancy featured in the discussion. Love Matters also compiled a list of questions young people had on their minds with regard to the pandemic. On this page, we are publishing answers to the questions asked during the consultations.

What are the long term effects of Covid-19?

Covid-19 affects most people in different ways. As for immediate effects, some people who get infected develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization while others get severe symptoms and may be required to be admitted to a hospital. In some cases, the effects of Covid-19 can persist for a longer period, especially for those who underwent severe symptoms or had to be hospitalized. These long term effects ( (post recovery from infection) can include fatigue, shortness of breath, joint pains, cough, lessened capacity for physical and mental activities. In rarer cases, the diseases can also cause long term issues in organs, such as lungs, heart or brain. However, being a relatively new disease, the impact of Covid-19 on humans is still being researched. Check details here. 

Is a mask really effective? How effective is it?

Yes, face masks are a really effective way of preventing Coronavirus spread, alongside other other preventive measures, such as getting vaccinated, frequent hand-washing and physical distancing. 

It is first important to understand how masks prevent the spread. So the Coronavirus spreads through tiny respiratory droplets that can travel from one person’s breath to another while talking, coughing, sneezing or breathing. If both the persons are wearing masks, then these respiratory droplets will not be able to travel from one person to another, thus preventing the spread of the virus. 

The effectiveness of the masks can be improvised by ensuring that they are well fitted to the edges of your face to prevent leakage of air. Also, for the mask to be fully effective, it should be snug over the nose, mouth and chin, with no gaps. No air should escape from the sides of the mask.

You can also increase the effectiveness of the masks by using a bendable nose strip to help prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask. Some people also wear double masks - a disposable mask under their cloth mask, to have double protection.

Proper use, storage and cleaning of masks is also important to make them more effective.

Is it the right time to consider getting pregnant?

Pregnancy can be a confusing and a challenging time for new, would-be-parents and their families even under the best of circumstances. The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly added to these concerns. The Coronavirus can indeed pass from mother to foetus before birth via the placenta, various studies have suggested. However, none of the researchers have data on outcomes for women who had infections early in pregnancy. 

However, to combat such risks, the Indian vaccination programme is successfully running and with more than 80 crore people ( and counting) getting vaccinated as we speak. The higher risks of the disease have been covered and getting pregnant at this time, keeping in mind all the Covid protocols and consulting your doctor, can be considered. 

The Indian government has also approved the Covid-19 vaccines for pregnant women. Read more details here

Why are young children, who do not go out anywhere, getting Corona?

Covid 19 is a contagious disease (viral infection). It spreads from one person to another. If an adult in the house has caught the virus (with or without any symptoms), the children can also catch the infection. There is also a minor chance of catching the infection if they touch anything that has the virus on its surface - for eg: vegetables brought from the vendor or an infected courier package etc. However, according to global data, in children the disease is known to be milder. Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all.

When a person dies because of Corona, why is no one allowed to meet him?

The Corona virus infection spreads from one person to another through respiratory droplets that can pass from one person to another during talking, sneezing, coughing or touching surfaces where these droplets may have landed like our hand or clothes. The virus is also present in the saliva, phlegm or blood of an infected person. Even after the death of a person, the virus is present in their body and can spread to another person if there is close contact.

 This is the reason why there are restrictions on being in close contact with dead bodies if the death has been caused by a Coronavirus infection. Even those conducting the funerals have to protect themselves by wearing special protective clothes. As per the current guidelines. relatives are allowed to see the dead with adequate protection but touching/hugging/kissing is not allowed. Often when such protective clothing is not available, hospitals may not allow visitors to see the dead body at all. Also, a quick cremation is preferred to avoid any further spread of infection.

During the previous lockdown, doctors and nurses were helping us, but this time why is everyone careless?

It's not like that. During April-May when the second wave of the virus hit us, we were short of resources such as oxygen cylinders, injections, hospital beds and medicines because the number of people severely suffering from Covid-19 was higher than the number of people our health system is able to manage. So the pressure on the doctors and other medical personnel was very high. Even under that pressure, they worked continuously to help the patients. 

There were reports of doctors not going home for days and working very long shifts. However, it was the pressure on the health system which was very high. As the number of cases decreased, the health system also began to cope better. 

Finally, while the disease only lasts a couple of weeks for most of us, the doctors and other health personnel have been dealing with this for over one and a half years. They are also humans, with families like us, let's not forget this.

What is the exact number of people who have died of Corona?

It is difficult to tell the exact numbers because the numbers are changing every day. The official number of deaths caused by the pandemic in India till 29 June 2021 stood at 397637 though the actual number could be higher due to under-reporting.

Corona has been completely controlled in some countries, so what is the reason for it not coming under control in India?

India is the second most populated country in the world, with a population of 136.64 crores and counting. With this huge population density, where people are living close to each other in many areas, it is easy for communicable diseases like Coronavirus to spread easily. Hence it is taking time to control this pandemic. However, vaccination is one positive way to fight Coronavirus. The greater the number of people vaccinated, the lesser the spread of Coronavirus.

Will there be a third wave of Corona? And what is the reason for that?

No one can confirm if there will be a third wave and if it does when it will occur. Whether a third wave will happen will largely depend on how strictly we follow the COVID-19 rules, such as always wearing masks in public, not attending public gatherings, maintaining distance in public and regularly sanitising our hands. 

This will help keep the number of new infections in check. It is also important to get vaccinated as soon as possible so that more and more people have protection against the disease and so will either not fall sick or would at least not need hospitalisation. So it all comes down to how well we follow the covid-19 norms.

Why does a person die from corona only in the hospital, why not at home or somewhere outside?

The Covid 19 infection has different impacts on different people. For most (80 percent population) it is a very mild infection and only about 10-20 people need hospitalisation. Out of this about 3-5 people need intensive care. Often Covid 19 symptoms and disease is severe for people with other critical health problems such high blood pressure or asthma. In such cases, a Coronavirus infection becomes very serious and needs hospitalisation.

In other words, only critical cases require hospitalisation in the first place. Also, patients arrive at the hospital at a very later stage, without consulting a doctor in the first few days of the infection (often trying home remedies only). This makes the situation more critical when they arrive at the hospital.

So the cause of death is not hospital admission but pre-existing health conditions or delay in seeking medical attention. So it is very important that anyone showing symptoms of Coronavirus is tested as early as possible so that the right treatment can begin in time.

Can we use any medicine for Corona disease, if we are in the initial stage?

There is currently no cure for Coronavirus infection. Medicines are only available to reduce the symptoms of the disease. In most cases, most people recover at home without any need for any specific medicines except Crocin. But the most important thing here is to consult a doctor.

The doctor will be able to assess your symptoms and decide whether you need any medicine, in what quantity and for how long. It is very important to reiterate that medicines should not be taken without doctor’s advice as it can lead to unknown complications that might be hard and difficult to manage later. So whether it is Corona virus or any other infection, please do not take medicines without doctor’s advice.

What arrangements have been made for the third wave of Corona?

Though there is no certainty about a third wave, the government. is gearing up for the situation by focusing on building infrastructure like hospitals and getting ample stocks of medicines, oxygen cylinders and injections etc needed to fight the disease.

The government is working to estimate the number of persons in general and children in particular who are likely to get infected. It is also trying its best to get everyone vaccinated. The greater number of people vaccinated, the lesser would be the impact of any future resurgence of the virus.

Testing capacity for Covid-19 too has been increased from around 40000 a day to one lakh as of 18 June. The government is now making arrangements to set up new RT-PCR laboratories in addition to setting up mobile labs and allowing self-testing at home. This would increase the testing capacity and help the government test and track more positive cases in a short period.

The government has also set up permanent oxygen plants in many hospitals across the country and also introduced various policies to encourage private oxygen generation. A major part of the fight against COVID-19 also lies with the public who need to try and get vaccinated as soon as possible and follow the COVID-appropriate behaviour even after vaccination.

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