Hyderabad : For the next six months at least citizens should maintain ‘COVID-19 discipline and face mask – covering the nose and mouth, will continue to be the ‘main vaccine’ in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, cautions CSIR-Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) Director Rakesh Mishra on Wednesday. “There is no major change in either the virus or the transmission but some kind of fatigue seems to be set in among the people. We can control the situation by adopting our new lifestyle of avoiding social gatherings, wearing face masks when outside, hand washing and personal hygiene,” he affirms. A ‘peak’ or ‘plateau’ has not been distinctly visible across the country but while it is quite possible the person to person transmission may have come down a bit but “we are not yet out of the woods,” he said. For the sake of safety of the ‘other’ person whether young, old or with co-morbidities, “we need to exercise caution”, maintains the Director. Dr. Mishra says there is “no harm” in requesting people to wear masks properly if they are not doing so in any setting. Low case numbers being reported could be because the “infection rate is less,” however, it could also be due to “low testing numbers, where the testing is being done and due to over-reliability on rapid antigen tests when RT-PCR is the recommended gold standard for those with symptoms.”
Other possible reasons could also be lack of reliable data by various agencies involved and, therefore, more proactive approach may be needed by the governments departments. “People are not so scared anymore and realise those with mild or asymptomatic need not rush to hospital and spend a lot of money. This also explains some reduction in hospital load of COVID-19 patients. Things are yet uncertain as wherever there is greater vigilance, like in Delhi, cases are spiking, he points out. As he has been stating from the pandemic outbreak, Dr. Mishra feels Indians and South Asians could have been exposed to a COVID-19 kind of virus earlier which may explain stronger resistance shown against the current pandemic in this part of the world. It is also not ruled out that our genetic make-up is better suited to build up this resistance. “Studies are underway to find out more about this,” adds Dr. Mishra.