Mumbai: Those who suspect they may have symptoms of coronavirus must not hide in fear but come out and get tested, says a 32-year-old doctor from Wockhardt Hospital, who had recently contracted the infection, possibly from a patient admitted in the hospital general ward.
He believes that citizens must not fear social stigma or fall prey to myths being perpetuated about the virus and its treatment. The doctor has a body of evidence to substantiate his advice.
Wockhardt Hospital became a veritable corona hotspot after 52 of its medical staff, including doctors and nurses, got infected, in a chain reaction, after being unknowingly exposed to four patients admitted here in mid-March. Civic authorities were forced to shut down and seal the hospital.
Dr Sumedh Kesaria, a chest physician, was one of the 52 staffers infected and feels, "Perhaps it happened because the patient in the general ward had not disclosed his travel history," he told The Free Press Journal.
Despite wearing a mask, gloves and other protective gear, he became infected. Shortly after patients in the general ward tested positive, he came down with fever and body ache.
"After learning that the patient had tested positive, I had a feeling that I might have been infected and immediately decided to self-quarantine at home. By March 22, I underwent the test and the next day I got my report, confirming the presence of the virus.
I then got myself admitted to SevenHills Hospital the same day," said Kesaria, a resident of Malad. He added, "I decided to self-isolate as I cared for my family and did not want to endanger them or others. This measure paid off as no one in my family tested positive later." According to Dr Kesaria, the only way to fight coronavirus is by social distancing.
"This is the only way out. You have to maintain social distancing, not just to protect yourself but for the safety of your family and neighbours. Also, you need to quarantine yourself," the corona survivor said. The doctor, who has now recovered, thinks people should not conceal anything from healthcare providers.
"Hiding information about any health issues is not helpful at all. You ought to take medical help at the earliest, to avoid further complications. It's time for everyone who experiences any corona-related symptoms to come out and get tested," Dr Kesaria said. People are scared of being isolated for 14 days. "There are many issues. Some are scared of what life in quarantine would be like.
They are even afraid of the treatment. I think creating more awareness on this will help citizens better understand the issue. This is what authorities are trying to do. This will help people come out, get tested and save lives," he said.
The doctor was all praise for the medical fraternity at the frontline of this war. "They are doing a great job, despite being overly stressed. Even the government is doing all it can, to contain this pandemic," he said.