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COVID-19 – Where India went wrong? (10 facts)

1.       Bed Blocking & VIP Culture:  Many patients with mild symptoms are getting admitted, some for the fear of getting worse, some to protect their families from getting infected, some because they have insurance and others for lack of awareness that mild /moderate COVID -19 can be home managed.

 

2.       CT Chest: Even patients with no or mild symptoms are getting CT Chest as a diagnostic tool (not knowing the radiation risk equivalent to 300 chest x rays), some get repeat CT Chest scans to see if the pneumonia has settled etc.

 

3.       Remdesivir :  This drug shortage was artificially created by rampantly using it even for mild and asymptomatic cases and by hoarding this drug. Remdesivir should be reserved for inpatient use.

 

4.      Steroid abuse:  Though steroids are considered one of the major breakthroughs for severe COVID-19 infection, these have been abused rampantly due to ignorance and fear factor by both patients and health care providers. The role of steroids is actually limited to those with severe pneumonia with dropping saturations.

 

5.       Hoarding: Hoarding of medicines, devices by dealers and public

 

6.       Oxygen Concentrators: Oxygen has been a main stay for treatment in COVID-19 when saturations drop below 92%. In this group oxygen therapy is extremely beneficial. However, due to policy failure and unnecessary use in those with normal saturations and hoarding of concentrators, the needy ones are denied this life saving medicine.

 

7.       Blame game:  In a health care system where there is lack of trust in Government Hospitals and relying on private sector that thrive on demand/supply, there is significant disharmony in the Country with trust deficit.

 

8.       Mental Health: Significant unrecognized health hazard is with the mental health status of the society, partly due to media (digital, social, print etc) with scare mongering and also due to sudden change in the life style, unemployment, business loss and lack of social life etc.

 

9.       Second Wave: Though India had the benefit of learning lessons from the rest of the World where the virus struck few months ahead of India, unfortunately, India could not take the knowledge in controlling the second wave.

 

10.   Policy Failure: COVID-19 has two aspects for policy makers to handle, one is the health of the Nation and the other is the Economic impact. During the first wave, India focused in protecting the health of the people but as a consequence had to face criticism for the harsh lock down and its impact on the economy. However, in the second wave, by underestimating its intensity, India focused on not letting the economy slip down let its guard down by ignoring the health and lives of its people.