IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON HEALTH

Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.

Corona virus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. It is a scourge that up until now,  terrorises the world at large

This being a new infection, with so little information known about it, there hasn’t been a definite cure, let alone a vaccine for it. It can take a number of years for a new vaccine to be developed. Corona virus, just like any other new infection, has no approved vaccine, though dozens of vaccines are being developed and tested and some already in the clinical trials stage.   As the medics spend sleepless nights working on getting a vaccine that would nullify this scourge, we can only wait, hope and keep abiding by the WHO’s preventative precautions. Prevention is in all ways the safest option for me, you, and everyone.

The impact on health in general cannot be overlooked as the crisis continues to hold the world in its grip. More and more stories and prognoses are emerging about its impact on health. It has been forgiving to neither the economically struggling nor the economically strong nations with state of the art technology and facilities. The strong established Medical centers have run out of capacity, been overwhelmed and capacity building has been the anthem in developing and developed countries alike.

The governments have been so stretched that not only have the medical facilities run out of space but also the personal protective equipment (PPE).   This in a way has prompted several medical workers to become creative, improvise, reuse some equipment and sterilize using medically questionable procedures. Like every action has consequences, all this was not immune to the notion. According to the Guardian, more than a hundred first responders and front line workers have sadly lost their lives reducing on the already insufficient number of health workers.  

People of all ages can be infected by the new corona virus. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, to mention but a few, appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus and death. Statistically, as of the time of writing, the global confirmed cases are 5.6million while the death toll is 351485 people and still counting. One life is too many. On the bright side, 2.29 million recoveries have been registered, showing us some light at the end of the tunnel however dim.

As the corona virus pandemic rapidly sweeps across the world, it is inducing a considerable degree of fear, worry and concern in the population at large. In public mental health terms, the main psychological impact to date is elevated rates of stress and or anxiety. But as new lock down measures and impacts are introduced, levels of loneliness, depression, harmful alcohol and drug use, and self-harm or suicidal behavior have been on the rise. All this has led to a worse concern in the name of mental health. However, I urge everyone to keep in touch with family, friends and loved ones, share what’s on your mind, exercise (but from home) and get in touch with a health expert if you feel depressed and anxious. Stay hopeful because we will defeat this invisible enemy.

Like in every bad situation, there’s always some good, this too presents a positive impact on health too. Many hospitals have been constructed, state of the art equipment developed, many response teams created,  technology within the health sector improved (as it was aimed at testing and contact tracing), to mention but a few. All this will come in handy in the after math of this scourge thus improving the health conditions of the general human race.

It is safe to say that though this unprecedented scourge looks to infect and claim more lives. While we await in hope, the WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the infectious virus, for example

  • STAY home as much as you can,
  • KEEP a safe distance
  • WASH hands often
  • COVER your mouth when coughing
  • Call ahead when sick.

Author

Survival Arineitwe

IUEA Student in Civil Engineering

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