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Fruits and vegetables do not spread Coronavirus

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SARS-CoV-2 is primarily transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets that are either inhaled directly or enter the mouth, nose, or eyes by contaminated hands. There is no current evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted through food consumption.1 According to the latest evidence, the presence of coronavirus in the sewer has been confirmed, but there is no evidence that it is transmitted through sewage or contaminated drinking water. Also, SARS-COV-2 transmission through food, food packages, and food handlers has not been identified as a risk factor for the disease.2 

 However, it is advisable3 to strictly follow some rules to effectively prevent any chances of transmission through food or water.

  1. Always practice good hand hygiene once you get home from grocery shopping or restaurant take-away.
  2. Rinse off fruits and vegetables thoroughly with water before consumption.
  3. Do not share dinnerware or cutlery with others.
  4. Transfer take-away food into your own containers. Heat the food before consumption.
  5. At the store, maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and other shoppers.
  6. Avoid shaking hands, hugs, or other physical contact.
  7. Wear plastic disposable gloves to touch any surfaces like grocery carts or basket handles.
  8. Avoid touching your face while at the store or driving back from the store until you can reach home and wash your hands and face thoroughly.
  9. Use sanitizers wherever possible.

Stay at home if you have symptoms such as fever or cough. Wearing a mask may help prevent transmission to others at home.

Masking and washing your hands frequently and maintaining distance between yourself and others are the best ways to prevent illness.

Recent studies4,5 have shown that SARS-CoV-2 may remain infectious on surfaces or objects from a few hours to days, and therefore, after unpacking fruits and vegetables, groceries, or take-away food, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 40-60 seconds, or use hand sanitizer for effective prevention of transmission.

Source:
1.JAMA. 2020;323(19):1982.
2.AMB Express. 2020;10(1):92.
3.JAMA. 2020;323(15):1516.
4.Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2020;202(5):P15-P16.
5.Food Control. 2021;121:107661.

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Coronavirus

Italy to mandate green passes for entry to museums and other public places

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With rising cases in Italy, the Italian Government has decided to mandate a ‘green pass’ to visit its museums, attend sports events, enter restaurants, attend town fairs and conferences or casinos, visit bingo parlors and pools, among other public activities.

Similar to the Passe Sanitaire issued by the French Government, this pass is set to go into effect from August 6, according to current reports. Eligibility for the pass includes at least one dose of a COVID vaccine in the previous nine months or proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within the past 48 hours. Recently recovered from COVID-19 patients are also eligible for the pass provided they can submit sufficient proof for the same. According to the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s official statement, these passes are meant to allow people to do the things they enjoy “with the assurance they won’t be next to contagious people”.

As of now on 26th July 2021, it is not clear as to how non-Italian residents or tourists and visitors would be able to obtain this green pass or if there will be any equivalent documents from other countries that could be considered for issuance of the green pass. According to their Press Release, eventually Italy could make the Green Pass mandatory for travel including trains, buses and air travel. However, Italian nightclubs that have remained shut for some time continue to remain shut until further notice.

Italy was among the countries worst affected by the pandemic in early 2020 and reported the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the European Union.

Italy has reported more than 4.3 million cases of COVID-19 and close to 128,000 deaths, according to the latest available data from the World Health Organization. The WHO further reports that over 5.8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered till date.

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Coronavirus

Tuberculosis is rising in COVID patients

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Some media reports recently covered and reported a sudden rise in cases of Tuberculosis (TB) in patients who were infected with COVID-19. This is not true. According to the Health Ministry Press Information Bureau report of 17th July 2021, “there is not enough evidence currently to suggest that there has been an increase in TB cases due to COVID-19 or due to increased case finding efforts.”

Tuberculosis is associated with a 2.1-fold increased risk of severe COVID19 disease. The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has recently recommended TB screening for all COVID-19 patients and COVID-19 screening for all diagnosed TB patients to better understand and analyze the convergence of TB and COVID-19 for better surveillance and case finding of TB and COVID-19. The recommendation highlights studies that have shown that history of active as well as latent TB as an important risk factor for the COVID-19 infection.

Active or latent TB further results in increased susceptibility with rapid and severe symptom development and disease progression with poor outcomes. In addition, TB patients also tend to have co-morbid or living conditions (malnutrition, diabetes, smoking, HIV etc.) that increase their vulnerability.

Both TB and COVID-19 are known to be infectious, and they primarily attack the lungs, presenting similar symptoms of cough, fever and difficulty in breathing. In addition, TB bacilli can be present in humans in a dormant state and has the potential to start multiplying when the individual’s immunity is compromised for any reason such as a post-COVID scenario for COVID-19 survivors, especially due to the infection or the treatment with immunosuppressants such as steroids.

Therefore, because the COVID-19 infection can make an individual more susceptible to developing active TB disease, or an opportunistic infection like black fungus, it is important for COVID-19 survivors to be screened for TB as recommended by the MOHFW.

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Coronavirus

France is battling the 4th wave of the pandemic with 150% rise in cases

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Yes. France is currently battling the fourth wave of the pandemic and it is spreading with “lightening” speed.

On 21st July 2021, the French Prime Minister Mr. Jean Castex announced that the Delta variant of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is now the main variant circulating in France and has seen a stratospheric rise of 150% jump in cases in a week. He also added that 96% of the 18,000 new cases reported on 20th July 2021, were unvaccinated individuals.

In an attempt to restrict this rise, the Government in France has announced that a health pass called Passe Sanitaire will be required for all events or places with more than 50 people. This came into effect from 22nd July 2021. People wanting to go to cinemas, museums, sporting matches and other cultural venues in France will have to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination or a negative test.

Starting from early August, the health pass will also be needed to enter restaurants and bars and for long-distance train and plane journeys, in a move to encourage people to get vaccinated. The French Government has also announced tougher sanctions for violation of the health pass rules, with fines ranging from 1500 to 45000 Euros, including a jail sentence up to one year, for first to third time offenders across legal and natural citizens of France.

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Coronavirus

The third wave is here

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A message circulating on social media is making several claims about the COVID-19 Delta virus including the claim that the third wave is here and there are some different symptoms of the viral infection because this is a variant of the already known Delta variant of the Coronaviruses which will cause the third wave. The forward further claims that there are no obvious signs of the new variant, and its infection and patients may experience no cough or fever but a lot of joint pain, neck pain, general weakness, back aches, loss of appetite, etc. However, none of this is true.

The Press Information Bureau in its 17th July 2021 release, has also confirmed that these forwards are fake and has released a tweet on the official handle of the Bureau regarding the same.

There has been lot of talk about if and when  the third wave would hit us, as on date, we have no evidence backing the claim that India is looking at a third wave coming in or has already reached the stage to term the current state of the pandemic as the third wave.

According to various news reports and expert symposia, experts around the world, including top scientists from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have reiterated that the onset of the third wave has begun but these are mostly based on individual countries on a case to case basis.  For India, according to the latest projections, the third wave may hit between August and October according to the government which is why the next 2-3 months will be crucial.

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Coronavirus

People in Kolkata injected with fake vaccine at a vaccine camp

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While there have been encouraging reports of successful vaccine camps across the nation and the current numbers reaching more than 41 crores as on 21st July 2021, there have also been reports about fake vaccines being injected and people or groups scamming Societies in suburbs of Mumbai with fake vaccines used in the vaccination camps.

The latest to join the bandwagon is Kolkata where a scamster was arrested for posing as an IAS officer from the Kasba area of Kolkata and conducting vaccination drives across the metropolitan city. The camp was attended by eminent politicians as well and the fake vaccination drive was exposed when one politician fell sick due to the vaccine.

On investigation, it was found to be Amikacin sulphate packaged in vaccine vials. Amikacin is an anti-bacterial agents used in intensive care units for the treatment of patients with life-threatening infections. Side effects of this medicine in concentrations that were injected at the vaccination drive in Kolkata can cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst and rashes besides pain at injection site and redness at point of contact like usual injections. It does not have any role in COVID and administering it without the need can create issues in patients with kidney ailments.

According to latest updates, the Union health ministry is in touch with states where the scams have come to light and have assured that there will be formal investigations in this regard if the people who were injected fake vaccines need to take the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines again and how.

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