Lesson 101 on Covid 19 with Dr. Anupama Nadkarni


Dr. Anupama Nadkarni






Dr. Anupama Nadkarni is a practicing Pediatrician and friend. After chatting with her for a while, I realized how much still I do not know about the pandemic that has brought us all down to our knees! The interaction was almost like a lesson 101 on Covid 19, hence the title. While it’s true that the pandemic is scary, Anupama’s insights enlightened me that with proper precautions, it shouldn’t worry you much!

Here’s the transcript of my interview with Dr. Anupama Nadkarni. Hope it helps you in doing away with your anxiety about the malady.

Hi Doctor. Could you shed light on how Corona spreads?

Corona mainly spreads by,

  • Droplets (Cough /Sneeze)
  • Aerosols (Procedures where health care professionals are exposed) and
  • Fomites (if someone deposits this virus on surfaces that we touch like steel, plastic etc. then we touch our eyes/nose/mouth)

It is not proven to be air borne

Why is this virus considered so deadly?

The virus is highly infectious. Contact time for acquiring corona is merely 30 mins compared to 8 hrs. for Pulmonary tuberculosis. So if you share a space with someone in a place like a lift for 3-4 minutes, you could easily get infected. If you have taken precautions, you are unlikely to get infected. Hence wear masks. Don’t touch unnecessary surfaces. Sanitize or wash hands frequently.

How long does the virus stay on different surfaces?

Virus can last on surfaces like,

  • Aerosol for 3 hrs.
  • Copper for 4 hrs.
  • Cardboard for 24 hrs.
  • Steel/Plastic for 72 hrs.
  • Glass for 96 hrs.

We hear stories of people being treated at their home as opposed to an isolation facility. Why is that?

Let’s consider some statistics to answer your question.

Suppose 100 people were to acquire corona infection, 84 % will not be aware that they have infection. They are asymptomatic or have very mild illness needing home treatment including rest, and just a paracetamol etc. This percentage is huge and there is no point in putting pressure on the healthcare system to treat this lot at a dedicated facility.

16% of the affected population will typically exhibit symptoms like fever, headache, throat pain, cough, extreme fatigue. Of these 16, 12 will need hospitalization and simple treatment, and 4 will need ICU. Of these 4, 2-3 patients recover while 1-2 unfortunate would succumb to the disease.

The predicted mortality of this disease is between 0.5% to 2 %. It’s due to poor immunity, otherwise this is just a common cold.

Population of which age-group is likely to get affected by the virus?

Children appear to be spared of any serious unfavorable outcomes. By saying this, I do not mean that children are immune by default. They too must take all precautions. Adults must supervise children. Senior citizens on the other hand need to be extra careful & take precautions because they are likely to have diseases like diabetes, hypertension, respiratory illnesses, cancer and other autoimmune diseases needing immunosuppression. Having these diseases is what makes COVID 19 dangerous

How do masks help in curbing the contagion?

Masks are required to be properly worn. Not wearing mask, wearing on the neck, only on mouth with nose popping outside is all dangerous. Do not touch eyes and face when outside home. Here’s a picture that would better illustrate the need of a mask.

If one’s residential premise is following strict measures to curb the spread, would it be safe to not wear masks in the society premises?

The virus does not exhibit any preference to pick its target. Chance of acquiring infection from an asymptomatic resident exposed during his/her pursuit of essential goods like grocery, vegetables, liquor etc. either inside or outside the society premises is the same as, acquiring it from a service provider. Wear masks in the society premises. Social distancing helps if everyone wears mask and maintains a distance of at least 1-2 meters between 2 individuals both wearing mask. THIS IS WHAT IS GOING TO SAVE EVERYONE.

Probably we are all going to get infected some time or the other. Learn to take precautions, boost immunity and live the “New Normal” life. Don’t spread mass fear and panic.

Any special tips to take care of children?

  • Take care of their nutrition
  • Encourage them for regular exercise
  • They can mingle with the kids of their own age around 3-4 children
  • Encourage them for reading books
  • Involve them in daily chores
  • Keep some study targets for them

All these things will keep them in good health. Most importantly, don’t worry about COVID 19. The motto is take care & follow safe practices

If you are in Pune, India, and should you want to get in touch with Dr. Nadkarni, here’s a link to her contact page.

(Image Courtery: Anna Shvets & Gustavo Fring from Pexels)

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