Udayavni Special

Citizens can make huge difference to check Covid spread: Dr Devi Prasad Shetty


Team Udayavani, Sep 25, 2020, 5:02 PM IST

Chandigarh: The rise in Covid-19 cases is predominantly because of “our carelessness”, eminent cardiac surgeon Devi Prasad Shetty said Friday, urging people to “take responsibility” to defeat the coronavirus and wear a mask when stepping outside home.

The founder-chairman of healthcare chain Narayana Health said the government has taken adequate steps, like imposing a nationwide lockdown, and now the “ball is entirely in the court of civilians, citizens of the country” to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

“Government cannot do anything more to prevent the spread of Covid infection, but citizens can make a huge difference. Simple task of wearing a mask will bring down the incidence of spread significantly,” Dr Shetty said. “But more than the protection of the people and the people who are close to them there are today evidence to show that mask can immunise people, that is if you wear a mask a tiny quantity of virus can get into your respiratory tract and that is sufficient to develop immunity against Covid. It is as good as vaccination,” he said addressing a national webinar.

He said despite this kind of overwhelming evidence, it is sad to see thousands of people walking on the street, interacting with each other without a mask. “This (mask) costs nothing. So, if today we are seeing a rise in number of Covid in the country, it is predominantly because of our carelessness. It is very important that we citizens take responsibility of preventing the spread. It is important that we all get back to work. Lockdown is not an option, not going for work is not an option,” he added.

He said practicing fundamentals of social distancing is the need of the hour. “If you want to eat out, preferably go to restaurants which serve food in open air. If you want to meet with your friends, have the meeting in the open air because there is overwhelming evidence to show that meeting in an open space reduces the chances of infection spread,” he said.

He also said if one is found positive, one should check oxygen saturation with an oximeter at a very early stage. “Because the only reason in our experience people die is because of the late presentation with low oxygen in the hospital,” he said. Dr Shetty said he would like to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking a bold step of imposing a lockdown at a very early stage “otherwise we would have been in a very serious mess with millions of people getting affected with Covid when the country was not prepared”.

He said lockdown gave time to prepare to deal with the pandemic. “At that time hardly one company was making PPEs and there were doctors in the hospitals wearing raincoats to protect themselves and treating Covid patients. And we were not an exception, there were no PPEs even in England,” he said.

“Because of the lockdown we had three months of window of opportunity. The country could build enough infrastructure not only to build enough PPEs not only for India, but today, we are in a position to export PPEs. Today, we have not only provided adequate number of ventilators for the whole country, we are also exporting them,” he said. The webinar was organised by Haryana State Higher Education Council and ‘Swadeshi Swavlamban Nyas’ on ‘Swadeshi Swavlamban to Atmanirbhar Bharat’ on birth anniversary of Deendayal Upadhyaya.

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