Ahmedabad, Apr 22 (PTI) The 'second wave' of COVID-19 that is sweeping India is akin to a 'third world war' and it can be won by developing herd immunity in the masses through vaccination drive, said a member of the Gujarat government's task force on the pandemic on Thursday.
The task force member, Dr V N Shah, also defended Gujarat government's stand of not imposing a full lockdown to break the chain of viral transmission in the state, which has been witnessing a surge in cases.
'This is the third World War. We are fighting against coronavirus.
'We can defeat this virus only by joining hands and understanding this disease properly,' Shah, a well-known diabetologist, said at a press conference in Gandhinagar.
At the press meet, Shah was accompanied by other members of the task force and senior state government officials, including principal secretary (health and family welfare) Jayanti Ravi.
'The Centre has now allowed people above the age of 18 to get vaccinated (from May 1). It is important to bring in herd immunity.
'Many treatment protocols changed (after outbreak last year), because we did not know what would work. But ultimately, answer is vaccination. It will help us to develop herd immunity,' he said.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 'herd immunity' is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection.
Shah defended the state government's stand of not imposing a total lockdown to bring down COVID-19 cases, saying it will prove disastrous for the poor.
'A lockdown is not in favour of the poor and lower middle class people. Moreover, the government imposed the lockdown last year because we did not know what we were fighting against.
'But now, we know how to give a fight. Thus, the government has done the right thing this time by not imposing a lockdown,' Shah added.
During the press briefing, Ravi informed about the change in treatment protocol for coronavirus patients with mild symptoms.
After studying protocols of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) other states, the Gujarat government has now added Ivermectin and Favipiravir tablets in the treatment protocol, Ravi said.
She said even the WHO has now said there is no evidence to prove Remdesivir, considered to be a key drug for COVID-19 patients and whose demand has shot up dramatically in the country, is effective in treating coronavirus.
Dr R K Patel, another senior member of the task force on COVID-19, urged people to wear face masks, saying it is more effective than the vaccine.
'Masks, particularly surgical ones, are more effective than vaccines. Masks will give you 100 per cent result. You should wear it even when you are at home,' Patel said.
Timely detection of coronavirus is the key to recover from the infection, he said.
'Early diagnosis is the key for recovery. If you have mild symptoms, just stay home and start medications without waiting for RT-PCR test result,' suggested Patel. PTI PJT RSY RSY