SARS- CoV 2 corona virus is now the cause of an outbreak throughout the world with the name of “COVID 19”. This corona virus has led to a pandemic that threatens everyone therefore the basic concept and knowledge about this pandemic situation is known to all of us. But how to treat the situation, what are the strategies applied in this direction, what are the possible ways to overcome this problem, these are some ongoing thoughts of everyone’s mind. So here is a good news that Yes! We can fight the pandemic. If we follow some strategies, we all can fight and win over this situation. Most importantly, this time is not to be panic but it’s the time to unite together against the pandemic. Before understanding the strategies we must know about the epidemic curve.
Epidemic curve: In case of pandemic, every single individual is on a great risk to get infected and a number of new outbreak cases are being reported with every passing day. So the epidemic curve represents the new outbreak cases by the day of onset of the disease to understand the present condition. The overall shape of this curve helps us to observe the current situation and to understand the type of outbreak we’re dealing with. The X-axis of this curve represents ‘the time (date)’ whereas the Y-axis represents the number of new outbreak cases. There is also a horizontal line parallel to X- axis which represents the capacity of the community health care system that means the hospital capacity including beds numbers, available staff and other important measures available for patient care. So in general condition the curve should not go beyond the threshold line (fig a).
But what happens when it comes to a pandemic? A pandemic results a sudden rise in the number of patients. Today, many countries have met this critical situation when the community health care systems are leading to less availability of resources for a proper treatment of all types of patients at the same time as they are already operating close to the capacity line. We can visualize the progress of a disease outbreak over time by observing the changes in the shape of epidemic curve. Whenever a pandemic occurs, it is believed that the infectious agent spreads very rapidly and the curve can rise and cross the line. In this critical situation, the healthcare system can no longer meet the needs of COVID-19 patients as well as all the other types of patients and at this point the mortality rate starts to rise quickly as people are unable to get the best care and outcomes. For these reasons, health care systems have to fellow two strategies to save a large number of lives. These strategies are as follows:
Strategy 1: Flatten the Epidemic Curve
To achieve the first strategy the rate of infection should get slower and in this case the epidemic curve will be observed flatter than the normal situation (fig b) and this is called flattening the epidemic curve. It does not mean the infection will not spread among but a flatter curve assumes the same number of people will get infected over a longer period of time so their
Key factors to flatten the curve:
a). Social distancing: Now a key factor to flatten the curve is social distancing, which refers to measures aimed at reducing close contact between people. This is why governments are closing schools, non-critical businesses and other places where people gather like sporting and social events. By limiting interactions between individuals, we can limit the spread of the disease. This is why it’s so important to educate as many people in the community as possible through online education, news articles and even social media posts.
b). Practicing good hygiene: Apart from social distancing, there are a number of key behaviours that you can do to help, like practicing good hygiene by washing your hands frequently and cleaning frequently touched objects and surfaces.
c). Isolating in confirmed and suspected cases: as well as isolating in confirmed and suspected cases.
While Health Care Systems are doing their part to help flatten the curve, they also need to meet the increasing demand. This is raising the line of our health care capacity.
Strategy 2: Raise the line
The strategy 2 is all about to increase the capacity line of health care systems in term of hospital beds, staffing, available equipments and all possible care which should be provided to the patient. As the demand is increasing day by day, many countries are unable to provide all facilities to patient suffering from Covid-19 as well as other diseases. Now the question is how to increase the capacity of heath care systems? Yes, the infection is spreading with a great rate and the suspected patient visiting to hospitals may be a carrier of corona virus and can be infectious to other patient present in hospitals as well as for health care providers.to avoid these problems and to increase the capacity there are some important steps taken by health care people:
- Discharging healthy patients from hospitals as quickly as possible
- Cancelling elective procedures and ramp up staffing
- Health care providers are arranging acute facilities to deal with the waves of corona patients.
- The supplies of protective equipment should remain adequate throughout the pandemic.
- Health care providers should figure out ways to provide online health education opportunities.
- Health care providers should see patients with home care and telemedicine.
- Hospitals should make every effort to keep corona patients separate from non corona patients to reduce the chances of intra-hospital spread.
- Not only patients but health care providers should also get proper care and personal protective equipment like N95 masks.
- Ultimately the curve should be kept below the capacity threshold to ensure the resources will be equally available for patients.
These two strategies are proving themselves as the best option during the rising magnitude of corona infection. Few points to remember always are:
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