The coronavirus outbreak in India will likely be controlled once the mercury starts rising as we approach summers, said Director, Bhagat Phool Singh Medical College, Dr Renu Garg, in an exclusive conversation with India TV. "Coronavirus is not heat resistant. It will die as the temperature increases. On a metal surface, the virus can survive for a 12-14 hour period. If you heat up the surface, the virus disappears. We are hoping that as summers approach, the virus will diminish," Dr Garg told India TV.
She added, "The kind of heat we see in India, the virus will most likely not survive."
Dr Garg, however, said that there is no consensus on this matter among the doctors and various theories are doing rounds.
Speaking further on various theories that are doing rounds about the consumption of products can help cure coronavirus, she said, "No garlic, no oil, no alcohol will affect the virus. Even Ayurveda will not cure you of coronavirus. There is no proof that this happens. If in future something is scientifically proven then that is a different issue. Garlic is found in China. If it were treating people, so many of them would not have died."
When asked about the reaction that is being seen across the country where people are stocking up hand sanitizers and facial masks, Dr Garg said that people's concerns are justified but they must take the right precautions and refrain from panicking.
"The concern is definitely justified. It is normal human tendency to react like this when you think your life is at stake. I don't think that the people are overplaying it but they are not doing it right," Dr Garg said.
Use the mask properly, or not at all
"The masks are not being used properly. People are just tieing them around their neck rather than putting them on the way they are meant to be put on. By misusing the mask people are making themselves more vulnerable," she said.
Explaining the proper way to use a mask, she said, "You have to wash your hands properly before putting on the mask. When you put the normal surgical mask on, you have to clip it properly onto the nose. After you put on the mask properly, you then don't have to touch it again because if you touch it you are again coming into contact with any bacteria or virus that the mask might have protected you from. When you take a phone call while the mask is on, that is also harmful."
"People think that coronavirus will see a person with a mask and it will run away. It does not work like that, there is a procedure to make these things work," she added.
Difference between an ordinary mask and an N-95 mask
As the threat of coronavirus has increased, people have been confused as to whether or not to wear a mask. And if at all they should, which ones to wear. To this regard, Dr Gard explained the major difference between the ordinary mask and an N-95 mask, which has been bought by people in large numbers.
"There are two types of masks, the ordinary mask and the N-95 mask. The ordinary mask is not to prevent corona from entering. The ordinary mask does not protect you from coronavirus. What it does is if a person is coughing or sneezing (coronavirus or no coronavirus), it protects the other people from getting the virus," she said.
"N-95 mask can prevent the coronavirus from entering the mask as well as going out. The N-95 mask can only be used once. If you remove it once, you cannot use it again. If you remove the mask and then you are again touching it, you are coming into the contact with any virus that the mask may have protected you from," she said also touching upon the point that people have not been made aware of how to use the masks properly.
Asking people to refrain from creating a situation of panic, she added, "N-95 masks should be used by only those who are confirmed cases of coronavirus, and those who are providing health care to these people. All those people who are roaming around wearing N-95 masks are creating unnecessary panic in society."
Once infected, a person must be quarantined
Speaking of the right medical procedure to encounter the problem, Dr Garg said that "proactive" steps must be taken to contain the virus if a person is found infected. "We have to ensure that in case any person tests positive of coronavirus we are at least not letting it spread."
"Coronavirus has the worst impact on those who are immuno-compromised, those who are elderly, those who are diabetic or have some other respiratory disease. For everyone else, the virus just goes to fever and some chest infection in some cases. Till now we have no deaths reported in India. If there is a young person who gets infected with coronavirus, there is a fair enough chance that the person will tide over the situation. All we have to do is basic symptomatic treatment," she said.
What is symptomatic treatment?
Symptomatic treatment is a treatment where we just treat the person as per the symptoms. "So if the person has fever, we will treat him for fever. If he has a cough we will treat him for a cough. If he has breathing problem then we have to put him on that kind of support depending upon the situation," said Dr Garg.
Coronavirus has no stages
When asked about the intensity of the symptoms and are stages associated with the virus, Dr Garg said, "There are no stages as such. But initially, there might be no visible symptom in the patient. If a person has mild fever or cough, you might not suspect coronavirus at first. But now, after looking at how the virus has spread globally, we know that such symptoms could be of coronavirus."
"If somebody comes to us and we suspect coronavirus, we will immediately put that person into isolation first. Then his samples will be taken for testing. The test for coronavirus usually takes 7-8 hours. From Sonipat, we send the samples to AIIMS, Delhi to get them checked. We have created proper isolation wards at our hospital which has all the facilities to keep a coronavirus infected patient if the time ever comes," she added.
She further added, "It is important to quarantine all the people who have come in contact with the person who got infected from coronavirus because some or all of those people might be infected but might not be showing any symptoms in the initial days. In the meantime, they are still capable of infecting other people. Therefore it is important to identify them and quarantine immediately."