One day we are putting our trust in a new discovery and the next day we have to toss it out
Picture this: you are bedridden, out of breath, and struggling with one of the toughest viral infections of modern times, but it is not the worst feeling. The worst feeling is not knowing what might cure you, if at all.
All of us facing this coronavirus pandemic have unfortunately become entangled in a web of confusion surrounding Covid-19. Crammed among countless myths, facts and debates, the general people are frantically running around and looking for plausible treatments and preventive measures. The number of times information, findings and predictions have been overturned is a testament to how dangerous and unpredictable the Covid-19 virus is.
The outbreak caught the world's attention during the dying days of 2019. But till date, there has not been any concrete solution, or even a clear understanding of its behaviour and symptoms.
Science is still at a loss on discovering a treatment or even understanding how exactly the virus behaves, who it targets and why. Even the World Health Organization (WHO), supposedly the most reliable source for public health information, seems to be stumbling on providing accurate theories. One day we are putting our trust in a discovery and the next day we have to toss it out.
Till last week, asymptomatic (coronavirus carriers who do not show any symptoms) patients were "silent killers" but this week, apparently they are not transmitting the virus as much.
At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a whole debate on whether or not to wear a mask. What do we have to do to avoid being infected? Do we wear a mask or not wear a mask? Should an infected patient cover his face or should a healthy person?
This was fuelled by further misinformation as authorities in different countries were split between imposing restrictions on wearing face masks. For now, all of us are wearing one, and the latest studies claim the practice of wearing masks has significantly reduced infections in some places. In which case, why were we not wearing it from the start?
During the early days of Covid-19, emphasis was laid on the fact that it impacted the elderly the most. But now we have seen toddlers, teenagers and people of every age are being infected.
Helpless and without guidance, we have also turned to herbs and spices in our kitchen racks. We tried warm concoctions with ginger, cloves, and garlic in them.
Some said going vegan would be a lifesaver, some said we should fortify our diets with eggs and meat. But the infection rate has kept on spiking and nothing seems to be flattening the curve in many countries.
This also rendered earlier theories on how tropical countries would have a low infection rate because of high temperature.
In Bangladesh, hundreds have already died and thousands are infected. Numbers are much higher in neighbouring India. Both countries are going through very warm summers.
Science is still at a loss on coming up with exact treatments. Doctors and health experts are at loggerheads on finding the right medication and their dosage.
Hydroxychloroquine seemed to be the miracle medicine before its side effects were revealed. In May, EU governments banned its trial and prevented it from being used to treat coronavirus patients. But in June, WHO resumed a clinical trial of this anti-malaria drug.
Now pharmaceutical companies are mass producing Remdesivir although not every pharmacist or doctor is in favour of using it. None of the medicines has yet proven to be completely effective in fighting Covid-19.
As of today, we have turned to Convalescent Plasma Therapy (CPT), which even WHO does not approve, yet. There has been some success, but those are not backed by proper scientific evidence.
Of course, we can keep pulse oximeters at home, like blood glucose kits, but in an emergency, when someone has already developed an acute lung infection, how helpful would this machine be?
Moreover, would it be safe for us to keep oxygen cylinders in our homes? Especially when these are mostly operated by skilled technicians?
Experts have already expressed concern because if consumers begin to panic buy and hoard oxygen cylinders, the way they did with hand sanitisers, hospitals might be in trouble.
The latest trend in Covid-19 cure is achieving herd immunity. Roughly explained, as more people are going to get infected, the virus is going to become weaker and eventually people are going to become immune to it. But for that to happen, millions might have to succumb to death.
So which things give us hope? The situation in countries like France and Italy where hundreds of patients were dying every day, is gradually becoming better.
Death rates have plummeted and restrictions are slowly being lifted. Paris reopened its restaurants and cafés and as of June 8, London reported no new deaths. Schools in Finland and the Netherlands are already open as citizens are slowly going back to work.
According to media sources, trials are underway and a coronavirus vaccine might soon be in the horizon.
Not knowing when the pandemic might end, we can only keep our fingers crossed for actual remedies of Covid-19 to come into existence. Time might be the only healer for now.