Expert: One year on, prevention key to stem COVID-19 spread
One year after the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Maharashtra, use of masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and vaccination remain the key tools to contain coronavirus spread, says an expert. Recounting the COVID-19 outbreak in Maharashtra, Naidu Infectious Diseases Hospital Superintendent Dr. Sudhir Patsute said that even before the detection of the first case, the medical facility was prepared to handle any situation.
People followed COVID-19 prevention protocols in 2020: Dr. Patsute
"We had done our training and required homework well in advance and as a result, we could achieve what we wanted to (in terms of handling the situation)," Dr. Patsute said. "People followed the COVID-19 prevention protocols in 2020 and as a result, the spread of the virus could be contained by the year-end," he added.
Wear masks, follow physical distancing, take vaccination: Dr. Patsute
"However, it seems for the last three months, the grip over caution has loosened. As a result, we are now seeing a spike in cases," Dr. Patsute said. He appealed to people to wear face masks, follow physical distancing and hand hygiene and take COVID-19 vaccination. "These are the key tools to contain the number of cases and the mortality rate," he said.
Vaccine is free for people aged 60 and above
Dr. Patsute said that fortunately, the vaccine is available free of cost in government hospitals for people aged above 60 and those between 45 to 59 years of age with co-morbidities. "If we immunize this category, we will be able to control the COVID-19 cases and the death rate," he said.
A Pune-based couple was first to test positive in Maharashtra
On March 9 last year, a Pune-based couple, Jivandhar Awati (51), and his wife were the first ones to test COVID-19 positive in the state after returning from a Dubai trip. Their daughter and a cab driver who had ferried the family from Mumbai to Pune also tested positive for the viral infection the next day.
Couple appealed to people to take vaccine, follow prevention norms
The couple was admitted to the civic-run Naidu Infectious Diseases Hospital in Pune and recovered after some days. Their daughter and the cab driver also recovered. The couple also appealed to people to take the vaccine and follow all the COVID-19 prevention norms.
Awati donated plasma to save the lives of other patients
"The coronavirus has changed our lives completely. The initial days of isolation were tough, but we remained mentally fit and overcame the fear," Awati said. Awati added that a few months after recovering from COVID-19, he donated his plasma to save the lives of other patients. He said that coronavirus has taught him about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise.