Mumbai

‘We have ignored coronavirus for a long time’

New e-book presents all information related to COVID-19; research conducted at Jaslok hospital

A first of its kind e-book on the novel coronavirus crisis, authored by three experts, was recently launched at a webinar in Mumbai.

Titled The Corona Virus, the e-book is written by Dr. Swapneil Parekh, co-founder of Do It Yourself (DIY) Health; Dr. Maherra Desai, a clinical psychologist and medical researcher; and Dr. Rajesh Parikh, Director, medical research, at Jaslok Hospital. It was written after conducting extensive research at Jaslok hospital.

Dr. Desai and Dr. Parekh came up with the idea of writing the book when the virus had hit Wuhan, China. Since Wuhan was the first large city to go under lockdown, they thought a book with information gathered after research should be available for the people.

Psychological effects

One of the key points covered in the book is the psychological effect of COVID-19. According to Dr. Desai, the duration of a lockdown can bring about sleep deprivation, anxiety and depression, with a lot of these factors feeding into each other as exhibited by the patients during clinical trials.

“More than half the human population is sequestered, everything has come to a standstill, and this has long-term detrimental psychological effects. As easy as it is to say ‘stay at home’, research says that an important human aspect is being social, which one can’t be in these unprecedented times. This takes an emotional toll. We have 188 countries where people are working from home, which is not the traditional way of working, and 1.2 billion children are not going to school. This has a major impact on them mentally with increased levels of frustration, low mobility and vulnerability,” Dr. Desai said.

Burden on system

At the same time, as the number of cases grows, the healthcare system is over-burdened. Lack of qualified members in healthcare facilities, and of access for a large chunk of the population are major concerns. A lot of collaborations can be seen with respect to researchers and scientists coming together to speed up the process of developing a vaccine, the authors said.

“This is not a new virus; we have ignored the novel coronavirus for a long time. In October 2019, John Hopkins Center for Health Security ran a simulation with a zoonotic cornonavirus pandemic and no one took that seriously. This virus has hit us at a point when we are in a golden age of scientific discovery, so we are going to learn a lot. I was at Kasturba Hospital and we are doing research on immunology as it’s so new and exciting. With the data we have, I can say that this will go on for a year till it turns into an endemic,” Dr. Parekh said.

The book has been published by Prabha Khaitan Foundation and Penguin Random House.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 3:17:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/we-have-ignored-coronavirus-for-a-long-time/article31654254.ece

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