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We are facing Covid again. It’s upon us now.

As cases continue to rise and protocols come into effect, physician Dr J Amalorpavanathan explains the situation. In an interview to inmathi.com, Dr Amal, as he is known by many, said the learning from the past is that total lockdowns don’t really help and affect people’s livelihoods. Moreoever, the severity of the disease would be likely far less than before. Dr Amal is not only a physician but also an active voice in public health issues. He played a key role in forming the organ donor registry in Tamil Nadu that has served a model as a transparent process to find matching donors for those requiring transplant.

Dr Amal started the interview with a disclaimer. He said he was not an expert but could speak anecdotally. He said he had not been on top of Covid in the last two-three months since the cases had dropped. While normal life returned, in the past one month or so, we have been seeing more mild Covid cases. None of the cases he came across needed hospitalization or oxygen. More importantly, they had taken two doses. Quite often, the cases did not spread beyond the family.

Dr Amal said the current cases are more in the nature of clusters, rather than a rapidly spreading disease.

It is Dr Amal’s observation is that the virus has reduced in its severity in India. None of the mutants that have arisen have been as serious as the original one. Transmissibility is down too. Some 90% coverage was there for first dose and 60 to 70% for the second dose in Tamil Nadu. He has reason to believe there is herd immunity as a result.

The fight against Covid continues to be waged with three defenses. One is using masks, social distance and so on. The second is vaccination and the third is hygiene

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Why lockdowns fail to deliver

In India, we didn’t require steroids nor monoclonal antibodies treatment  especially in the latter period. Not too many people required ICU admission.

The fight against Covid continues to be waged with three defenses. One is using masks, social distance and so on. The second is vaccination and the third is hygiene. We have only these three now, he said.

Dr Amal sought to tamp down panic or fear over the virus whose intensity has reduced. He advised that those who didn’t go for second dose should take the second dose. Seniors could opt for boosters, he said. The 12 to 16 year olds can go for the government-run programme. Those who took the second dose six months ago should go for booster shots.

Dr Amal said we will likely not see a wave. A wave would require that each succeeding one is as strong or big as the preceding. We are now seeing that the impact is restricted to clusters and doesn’t move beyond. In an apartment complex, for instance, it doesn’t transmit to other apartments. But that doesn’t mean we should go slack on the preventive measures. And a lockdown is not a solution, he said.

Dr Amal didn’t want to discuss the case of actress Meena’s husband. But he did say that he saw a Covid positive patient who had many other complications – co-morbidities – dying. At the same time, a ninety-year-old patient survived. One case should not make us conclude anything. Overall, Dr Amal feels there is nothing to be scared about.


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