Manimala Dharmangadan, explains the same through the actions of her own life to undertake the right amount of prevention rather than just panicking.
- Last Updated: March 17, 2020, 9:52 AM IST
While the world struggles against the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a growing panic among people regarding how to contain the spread of the infectious virus. And amid this scare, there's a fine line between panic and sensible precautions.
While doctors and international authorities have come together to raise awareness about the matter, a doctor who is involved in the care and management of COVID-19 patients at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong, explains what must be done to understand the fine line of difference.
In a viral video, Dr Manimala Dharmangadan explains the same through the actions of her own life. Manimala's daughter is seen baking her own birthday cake alone "for the first time" as she is standing at a distance and singing "Happy Birthday" for her daughter.
For the first time in many years, Manimala has not baked a cake with her daughter on her birthday. As she has been working at the ICU since early February to treat patients affected with the novel virus, she identifies her "biggest fear" to be "infecting her immediate ones".
Paying a price for what she does, Manimala has taken extra care to maintain her distance from her family by self-isolating herself in her own room, having her own cutlery and separating her meals from the rest.
The doctor further educates about the intensity of this infectious virus and states that a person who carries it has the ability to spread it to four more others. Hence, we "don't know how many people are out there with the virus".
The video further touches upon the myths regarding the outbreak of the virus.
Manimala says that the virus is a "respiratory droplet virus," that means it can travel up to a few meters to settle itself on a surface. For a woman, who spends most of her time with the virus-infected people, she resorts to wearing a "simple three-layered surgical mask" rather than panicking about not having an N95 mask. She says, "The N95 mask can be just reserved for very close contact or other procedures surrounding an infected person."
"There are a lot of misconceptions and public fear, which is running around and that's not how you should be dealing with the outbreak," said Manimala adding, "We need to be aware of what is happening, and to stay alert so that we can make intelligent decisions."
She also says that overbuying things including toilet papers, rice, and other commodities are not "how it must be to deal with this." What is more important is to constantly maintain one's personal hygiene and check the environmental hygiene and "these are the areas where the public should be concentrating on."
In a small note of relief, Manimala also explains how it might get easier to control the spread of the virus with the onset of summer, as they survive less in the hot and humid exterior.
The nearly 4-minute long video also sheds a light on how the doctors and nurses every day have been dealing with the virus from closer proximity without any fear.
Emphasizing on the need of a humane response to the panic, she said, "When you walk into a room and see a sick person, you realise that they are just one of us, who is sick and needs help. And that just helps you to treat them".
Although we have feared the virus for too long now, "it shouldn't let us affect how we think of people," says Manimala.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong on Monday reported seven more confirmed cases of coronavirus, including six people with recent travel history, taking the city’s total number of infections to 155.