Pandemic to endemic, people have to adapt to new reality, say doctors

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Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Omicron, Lambda, and Delmicron in between. Since it was first notified in 2019, Covid-19 virus has changed into multiple variants and hundreds of mutations have taken place.

While billions got affected by this deadly virus, more than five million have lost their lives. Even after two years since this novel coronavirus first started impacting human lives, Covid-19 crisis is far from over.

While this virus is in no mood to leave us anytime soon, doctors are suggesting how to stay cautious, and learn to live with these conditions. Europe is set to relax all restrictions imposed since January 2020, and want people to get accustomed to the changed environment. People in India too will have to accept the fact that Covid-19 is now an endemic, and it is like any other coronavirus or flu which causes various ailments in all age groups.

Commenting on the changing scenario, Dr Rohith Reddy Pathuri, Consultant Pulmonologist, Century Hospital, said that there is too much uncertainty about what shape and form the coronavirus will take with time. “Will it impact more people or less, a new variant will be more fatal or less, how many more mutations will we come across, have we acquired immunity against this virus; nothing is certain. While we doctors are still monitoring the traits of Covid-19 virus, it is important people continue to stay cautious, and ensure they follow all necessary safety protocols before we are fully out of this problem,” he said.

“Businesses cannot remain closed, people must step out to earn a living, students must attend physical classes for better academic progression, the world must move on. While we are worried about the continuing risk, it is also important people will have to step out for economic and livelihood reasons. Hence, it is important people follow necessary safety protocols and ensure they do not expose themselves to virus easily,” said Dr S. Ravindra Kumar, Consultant Physician, SLG Hospital.

According to Dr Sudhir Prasad, Consultant – Pulmonologist and Sleep Medicine, Aware Gleneagles, Global Hospital, world is witnessing a phase of transition and might have to start reacting a little differently to the changing times. “Our behaviour too will have to change from the past two years, because we will be more mobile for professional or economic reasons and will start interacting with others more frequently. According to Google, people started searching for the term “endemic” and want to understand what it means and how it is going to impact their lives. No educational institution or business establishment can remain shut forever, hence it is important people adapt to the changing scenario and start living with the challenges.”

“Across Metro cities and in rural locations, the number of deaths due to Covid-19 infection has reduced over the last couple of months. While the Omicron variant led to a drastic increase in the number of cases in India, and around the World; the medical fraternity is widely debating the risk associated with it. Because we do not see a radical rise in the number of deaths caused due to novel coronavirus, it is widely accepted that this new variant might not be as dangerous. Hence, people can start leading their normal lives, attend to work, and academic sessions. But continue to stay cautious,” concluded Dr Mohd Vaseem, Consultant Pulmonologist, Kamineni Hospitals.

“Attending to school is an important element in the overall evolution of a child! Covid-19 has kept students away from their classrooms for two academic years, and quite a few might have not interacted well with their friends. All this is likely to have a bearing on the mental health of children. It is important parents accept the fact that this virus might not leave us all anytime soon, hence stay cautious, follow Covid appropriate behaviour and send their children to schools for better academic and mental development,” said Dr Mahesh Sarda, Consultant- Internal Medicine and Critical Care, Wockhardt Hospitals, Nagpur.

Spain, the United Kingdom are relaxing Covid-19 restrictions, and few more European nations are even relaxing the mandatory wearing of mask norm to optional. The United States which witnessed a maximum number of infections and deaths over the past two years too might fully relax restrictions. Considering these changing times, India cannot stay behind and will have to catch up with the emerging trends. So, the best people can do is to practice self-discipline in following safety protocols, wearing masks and where possible social distancing, and move towards leading lives normally.

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