A committee of medical experts, set up by the Tamil Nadu Government to advise it on how to tackle the Covid in the State, has said the people need not panic over the high incidence of cases , but instead learn to live with it by taking due precautions.
Dr Prabhdeep Kaur, a scientist of the National Institute of Epidemiology attached to the Tami Nadu chapter of the Indian National Council for Medical Research, told reporters at the State Secretariat on Thursday that “what we are seeing is a pandemic situation where viruses come in waves”. She said this in an apparent reference to cases galloping past 9,000 in a matter of days.
She said:” The only way to contain it is through more surveillance, more contact tracing and more testing and admission of asymptomatic patients in hospitals within three days of infection so that they do not spread it to more people”.
She said the silent carriers should be identified, isolated , quarantined and brought to hospital early to bring down the fatality rate which till now remains low.( It is now 67 deaths while the total number of cases is around 9,200).
The 19-member team of doctors on April 10 recommended to the Government to extend the lockdown, but that did not contain the spread of the virus. The only consolation is it might have become worse like in the west had the people were allowed out.
Now that we are in third phase of lockdown and the Government,lhas in line with Centre’s thinking, allowed most shops to open and most economic activities to resume, Dr Kaur said the experts had recommended staggered exit from the lockdown.
Dr Guganathan, another member of the committee, however said the Government has taken care of the daily wagers and the migrant labourers by providing free ration from March to June and feeding 20 lakh persons a day in Amma Canteens across the State and in community kitchen. It has thus helped the vulnerable section to develop resistance.
He said the Government had given kits to the poor containing hand sanitiser, face mask and vitamin tablets besides kabasura kudineer and nilavembu kashayam , that is drinking water mixed with Siddha medicines, to boost immunity.
He said that among the better off, the most vulnerable are the 50 plus age group and those in medication for high BP and sugar and heart diseases , besides cancer and AIDS. The fatality is high only among this section. The government and family members should take special care of these people.
He also welcomed the resumption of economic activities in stages to provide livelihood to the people and said the virus could still be kept under check by making people maintain social distancing, observe hand hygiene and wear masks.
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami , who gave a patient hearing to the experts during the over one hour consultation at the State Secretariat, is expected to announce a slew of measures while extending the lockdown till month end from May 17.