COVID-19 in Ladakh

Dr. Tashi Motup
With around three months of unpredictable infectious viral disease griping the cold desert in the Himalayas, people have faced immense hardships in their day to day lives in terms of outdoor activities due to lockdown situation. Major jolt in the field of education, tourism, construction related works resulted in a steep economic drift. Today with the search of covid positive cases amongst mobile population, especially student returnees from various parts of the country, it has become more complicated. Recent twist in the scenario is evident much clearer. Contact related disease spread i.e. Iran returnees and predictable evidences in terms of policy making in disease management and preparedness for disaster situation is vanishing. Community spread with unpredictable and poor evidences is posing real challenge to the management per se and community at large. Difficulties are more than the initial phase, in terms of contact source identification, contact tracing, safe transportation and quarantine and sampling of mobile populations.
It is fortunate that so far no deterioration in condition and mortality due to covid-19 has happened in Ladakh. Various presumptive statement of inherited pulmonary bronchoalveolar pathophysiology in people residing at high altitude and low atmospheric oxygen, wide spread herd immunity to a wide spectrum of pathogens, Ultraviolet radiations, Universal BCG vaccination at birth may be playing protective role. None of these are evidence based and any change in the environmental and viral strains cannot be ruled out, there by leading to a different and dreadful situation in the time to come.
Thus need for vigilant policy system in dealing with today’s scenario of covid disease is most desired. On the other hand, with a motive to give some relief from the prolonged lockdown period on the part of administration and taking bit of casualness on the part of the common man may invite a bigger problematic situation in the coming time. In this context, it is relevant to be extra vigilant and careful in following the universal precaution by every citizen by maintaining social distancing, frequent hand washing, sensitization, using face mask and keeping away from unnecessary outings, gathering and movements. Emphasised again that Government has given relaxation in lockdown and curfew for reliving hardships to the people, but not to forget that corona virus has given no relief on its part as is evident from the deterioting status of infection and deaths related covid-19. Be vigilant, be careful and be obedient to the guidelines because these are the primary and only weapon available to combat corona virus infection.
Lessons from covid-19 the world has land so far
“Good health is greater than all our savings”
“Future is not clear, treatment or vaccine is not available at present. Readiness only can save”
‘Humanity only can save humans’
“Stay home stay safe, fight disease not the patient, stigma can only help spreading the disease”.
(The writer is Head of a covid combat team.)