Wear masks to protect yourselves and society : Dr.Naveed Nazir Shah
Kashmir Valley’s leading Pulmonologist and HoD Chest Diseases Hospital, Dr Naveed Nazir Shah, has emerged as a prominent face in Kashmir in our efforts towards fighting pandemic Coronavirus.In an exclusive interview ,he talks to Rameez Makhdoomi and Farzana Mumtaz .
What do you think about the current Covid Graph of Kashmir and how Coronavirus would behave in winter ?
We are going through Covid era. This time graph of Coronavirus cases is witnessing plateau as we are getting about 500 cases daily on average ,much lower than average 1500 a day during peak summers . We can’t relax as harsh winter is approaching .The patients suffering from other disease especially COPD, Asthama, upper or lower respiratory tract infected patients are already witnessing aggregated symptoms .The reason is that humidity levels and temperature goes down in winters which causes weakening of local immune system .During harsh winters we all family members in order to get warmth stay hurdled in single room and thus even a single infected member can infect entire family ,the early indication is that we have started to get cluster cases of a single family .
What precautions should patients who have recovered from Coronavirus take as winters are approaching?
The Covid recovered patients can be divided into categories.In mild or moderate the symptoms don’t occur much maybe sometimes intermittent fever ,but patients with severe respiratory diseases like COPD ,Asthama or elderly there lungs are already weakened and lungs see residual changes like Fibrosis . Thus these patients are dependent on oxygen for long term and even those who have had severe Covid in form of bilateral pneumonia witness significant damage in lungs .These patients also require long term oxygen requirements.What about post Covid complications care and advise to patients on measuring their oxygen ?Since five to six weeks we have started Covid care clinic .We have started to call those patients who have recovered and operate this cilinic twice .Many patients are still having occasional cough, fatigue and in some severe cases still requiring oxygen .Oxygen concentrator should be at disposal of those who have had severe Covid ,and often record their oxygen levels with the Oximeters they have been provided .We have also educated them about critical points as to when such patients should visit hospitals immediately or have check ups .What about anti body testing developed by worldwide health administration to tackle this pandemic of Coronavirus?
Antibody testing is a vital phenomenon in fight against Coronavirus .In Kashmir too we have seen sixty to seventy percent recovered patients having developed antibodies .We have to research how much time duration these anti bodies last or start to decline and to what extent they will give Covid protection to a person .Will we able to develop full fledged vaccine against Covid till 2021?
The Sops , Guidelines related to Coronavirus are dynamically changing .It is a new virus requiring still lot of research to understand its nature .Even those countries who are claiming to have developed Vaccines are not aware about their efficacy .We have to remember that an effective vaccine developing requires first trials on animals and then humans .We would also have to know even if we develop vaccine how long would its efficiency last .Influenza Vaccine has been much in fashion in recent times .Your take ?
Both influenza and Coronavirus are viral diseases .Influenza Vaccine will give us no direct protection from Covid .But ,we will get indirect protection as we will get less flu patients ,and patients getting both flu and Covid are less chances and thus relief in terms of severity . Pneumonia vaccine is also recommended for elderly and immuno compromised patients .If a normal patient gets there vaccines done there is no harm as they have indirect benefits .Many people in Kashmir are no longer wearing face masks ,how do you witness this trend?
People should follow health advisory until we don’t get effective vaccine .Mask and handwash by use of hand sanitizer or soap are the most important thing and mask is utmost important because Coronavirus is most spread through droplets and through surface to surface transmission .Mask protects against it and so does hand wash .People should maintain physical distance ,and this time maximum patients are those who have attended crowded social gatherings.
There is also debate on whether dead bodies carry Coronavirus or not ?
Dead body burial has been brought under proper guidelines .If at a time of death patient is still Covid positive ,and this virus has life on wood ,steel ,cloth and body .We know dead body won’t breathe or cough and transmit virus through it but yes if it is positive at time of death there is risk of spread that is why guidelines laid for Covid last rites .But yes if patient is negative at time of death very less sops needed .
Is there any reality about Covid reinfection?
Coronavirus reinfection is a reality but the cases we get in this regard have no antibody developed .It is also a matter of debate whether in cases of reinfection the virus is new one or the old one getting triggered .All Covid recovered patients even those have antibodies should follow all SOPS and wear face masks as it is not a hard task . Lot is yet to be known about the behaviour and nature of Coronavirus so staying alert and following all guidelines is only way out .
Lastly how lethal can winter be in terms of Covid in Kashmir?
In Europe we are witnessing second wave ,Delhi too is witnessing new spike . In winter we are in threat of having increase in case load due to the fact that we are not taking precautions and secondly due to weather Conditions .Thirdly we don’t have heating arrangements in all rooms and all members of family are hurdled in one room which can easily cause transmission .Those who are going out especially youth should not come in contact with the elderly ones or anyone in family having Comorbidity .
Any message ?
People should follow all health advisories especially until we don’t have an effective vaccine. Please and Please wear masks as by wearing face masks you protect yourself and your family and society too.