COVID-19 WAVE III: Were the Lessons Learned from Last Year Implemented?

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Aleeza Safeer, a medical student from Pakistan. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


The massive influx of patients raised the following questions:

a.         Were the Lessons Learned from Last Year Implemented?

b.         Has the objectives set by our government achieved?

c.         In future how we save our vast population from this pandemic?

Emerging pandemics show that humans are not infallible and communities need to be prepared. On December 31, 2019, hospitals in Wuhan, Hubei province, China reported on a cluster of cases suffering from pneumonia of unknown cause, attracting global attention.

Lesson Learned During the 1st Wave

Following are lesson learned during the 1st wave of COVID-19:

a.         Lesson 1: Simple behaviours are the most effective response.

b.         Lesson 2: Testing and tracking identify hot spots.

c.         Lesson 3: Consistency shapes norms.

d. Lesson 4: Businesses adapt quickly.

e.         Lesson 5: Social costs must be considered.

f.          Lesson 6: No economy is immune.

Lesson Learned from Second Wave:

Second wave teaches us:

            a.         Wave, spike or cluster – it’s unavoidable

            b.         Restrictions may have to return

            c.         Quarantining visitors from abroad

            d.         Don’t lose ‘test and trace’ momentum

            e.         Don’t test once – test twice

            f.          There is no ‘one solution’

Comparison of All Three Waves in Pakistan

A comparison of the three Covid-19 waves presents some stark lessons of both success and failure. The first wave, according to official data available, was recorded at reaching 1,000 patients at its peak.

The second wave started on October 3, 2020 and peaked in 65 days when the number of patients recorded was 3,262.

The third wave started on February 22, 2021 and still shows no signs of peaking yet but the number of patients touched 5,329. The third wave’s scale of rise is much steeper than the previous two.

Strangely enough, the intensity of response by both the government and the people is not matching the gravity of the third wave. According to official figures, the positivity ratio has increased more than three times in the last four weeks from 3.3% to 10%.  In this third wave, the number of critical care patients has already surpassed those at the peak of the first wave. The vaccination process is also progressing at a pace that is slower than required.

Future Directions

Looking into the near future, containing the COVID-19 epidemic is likely to take several months; public health interventions will be directed towards social distancing and improving hygienic practices. Testing, contact tracing, isolation of infected, and precautionary self-isolation of contacts is critical in reducing the number of new cases.

Conclusion

Over the past two months, COVID-19 has emerged as a public health threat around the world. The corona virus disease continues to spread across the world following a trajectory that is difficult to predict. The health, humanitarian and socio economic policies adopted by the countries will determine the speed and strength of recovery. 

About the author

Miss Aleeza Safeer is a member of IFMSA Pakistan. She looks forward to helping society as a medical student as it is the only platform to polish the skills of medical students. She has been a brilliant student throughout her educational career. Her articles were published in College Magazine “Shuoor”.

During her stay in FICJC she won an award for Brilliant student by securing overall third position in MDCAT 2020.

Presently she is an undergraduate student of MBBS in Army Medical College, Pakistan.

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