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Coronavirus scare: Lockdowns will not help unless you know these things

Recent reports even suggest that loss of smell and taste could be signs of a Covid-19 infection

Kanishka Gupta  |  New Delhi 

If you think you are fit, have no health issues and can walk around freely, hold on. You need to know about what happened in This European country, with a population of just around 360,000 people, has successfully tested most of its citizens. And surprisingly, 50 per cent of those who were found to be infected by had no symptoms.

Here’s the latest on cases, including recent reports suggesting new signs of the infection.

Recently, India saw a spike in the number of cases, with the number of those affected reaching 492. These include the 36 people who have been cured and discharged, and 9 who have died.To curb the spread of coronavirus, or Covid-19 as it is called, both the central and state governments have taken several measures, including a complete shutdown across 32 states and Union Territories.

However, compliance issues were seen on Monday, with some people deciding to travel and meet others. Prime Minister again urged all citizens to understand the gravity of the issue and follow lockdown restrictions. He also asked state authorities to enforce lockdowns more strictly and ensure compliance. These people who ventured out probably felt they were safe as they exhibited no visible symptoms of Covid-19. Well, if you believe no visible symptoms are a sign you are safe, here is something you should know.

Unlike a majority of contagious diseases, coronavirus symptoms vary widely. Among people who have tested positive for the virus, there are those who were entirely asymptomatic, those with mild to moderate respiratory illnesses, cold-like symptoms – runny nose, congestion, sore throat, muscle ache, shortness of breath and cough.

In fact, recent reports even suggest that loss of smell and taste could be signs of a Covid-19 infection.

According to a New York Times report, Anosmia, or loss of the sense of smell, and ageusia, an accompanying diminished sense of taste, have emerged as peculiar telltale signs of Covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, and possible markers of infection.

The NYT also reported that British ear, nose and throat doctors, citing reports from colleagues around the world, called on adults who lost their senses of smell to isolate themselves for seven days, even if they had no other symptoms, to slow the spread of the disease. Published data are limited, but doctors are concerned and are raising warnings.

Then how does one find out if a person is infected and how should the spread of the disease be prevented?

Considering the myriad range of symptoms, a test is necessary. Besides, practising ‘social distancing’ can be a great help. The central and state governments in India have, therefore, enforced lockdowns as a measure.

However, the World Health Organizations’ Emergency Expert Mike Ryan has said the lockdowns are not enough to defeat the virus. "What we really need to focus on is finding those who are sick, those who have the virus, and isolate them, find their contacts and isolate them, too," Ryan said in an interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

In fact, US Surgeon General Dr Jerome Adams told NBC's Today: “We should be acting as if we have the virus,” adding that the mentality...

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First Published: Tue, March 24 2020. 13:52 IST