Armed with antibodies, Kashmiris better prepared for Covid 3rd wave

Armed with antibodies, Kashmiris better prepared for Covid 3rd wave

Sero-survey conducted in July found antibodies in 90% of doctors, frontline workers, 84% in common people

SRINAGAR: Doctors, front line workers, and people themselves are in a better position to fight a third wave of Covid-19 in Kashmir, medical experts say, but also warn against lowering of the guard.

The first and foremost instance of this preparedness is the increased capacity to fight the virus. According to the sero-study conducted by the government, more than 90 percent of healthcare and police workers have developed antibodies, which will significantly lessen the severity of the infection if they do contract it. About 84 percent of Kashmir’s population, too, has developed antibodies to fight the virus, the study, conducted in July, at the peak of the second wave, found.

Dr S Muhammad Salim Khan, professor and head, community medicine, Government Medical College, Srinagar, and principal investigator of the study, told Kashmir Reader that the development of antibodies means that there are less chances of hospital admission and of fatalities of Covid patients.

“Presence of antibodies does not mean that viruses cannot infect, but it means that we are better equipped to fight with them,” he said. “And this is the result of infections as well as vaccination.”

But, he said, this does not mean that people should lower their guard. They should continue wearing masks, maintaining distance, and practising hygiene, he said.

The reassuring opinion comes at a time when Kashmir is again seeing a steady rise in Covid cases. Government data says that about 31 percent of Covid cases reported in the month of August were recorded in the last week of the month, here in the ten districts of Kashmir valley, a clear indication that the infection is on a rise yet again.

On Monday, Srinagar had reported 48 fresh cases out of 78 in entire Kashmir. On Tuesday, this trend led authorities to declare five places as ‘micro-containment’ zones in Srinagar district. The locations include Yateem Trust Bemina, a factory at Khanmoh, Imam Bargah in Nowpora, Sheikh Hamza Colony Lal Bazar and Sheikh Faesal Colony Buchpora.

Dr Rouf Hussain Rather, Community Medicine Specialist and in charge of data analysis at the Divisional Covid Control Room Kashmir, believes that the virus is most likely going to be mild till October. Post this month, he said, the cases may go up again, but will be milder than in the second and first wave.

Dr Rouf, who successfully predicted the end of the first and second wave months before it happened, said that this won’t pose any serious threats but another possibility, which is less likely to occur, is that there will be shifts in the virus, which can escalate the caseload. “If people follow Covid appropriate behaviour, the possibility of this shift also diminishes,” he added.

The best is to follow ways of prevention from getting infected, he said. This can be done by wearing double layer masks, maintaining social distancing, washing hands regularly, avoiding crowded places, and following all other Covid related SOPs.

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