Is “it” over? Is this ‘the end”?

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end

This epic rock song from ‘The Doors’ was mostly reserved for the grand finale of some of their concerts in the late ’60s.

So, is it the end of the pandemic, this (hopefully) once in a life time event of this century? Or are we just tired of the restrictions on our lives, fatigued from being fearful, exhausted from being on guard? We just want it all to end… Not us, just the pandemic.

The pandemic will be gone, when ‘panic’ is removed from peoples. (Pan-demos = Pandemic). A virus, any virus, cannot be allowed to dictate to humanity , can it? So what do we do? This post is for those of us who are not disease epidemiologists, for those of us who know naught about communicable diseases, for those of us who are as concerned as anyone else. I am all three, so you can take me at face value and assign credibility to what I am dreaming of.

Pragmatism and practicality should rule the day. However, to err on the side of caution, to live to fight another day, is not cowardly or foolhardy…. It is wise.

In an ideal world, this is what I would do….. (Disclaimer: While complying with Govt guidelines of course)

I would wear a mask when I am in close quarters with others , indoors. I would wear this mask to cover my nose and mouth. I would not be wearing this mask in the belief that this mask would safeguard me, as then I would have to wear this mask consistently throughout the day, tightly fitting with nary a gap, taped to my skin, to not allow any air to enter or exit from the sides. Realistically, I would be wearing this mask out of courtesy to others, when indoors. When outdoors, while exercising, or while not in close proximity to others, I would not wear a mask.

While preferring to greet everyone with folded hands (Namaskar), I would shake hands with those I like and respect, if they would want to shake hands with me. I would shake hands just to quench that longing of two years of pandemic restrictions, for the physical contact of personal interaction. And then after shaking hands, I would ensure that I would not touch my nose or eyes or mouth, without having first washed my hands.

I would not be obsessed with washing hands or using sanitizers. I would instead, focus on not touching my eyes, nose or mouth through the day, unless my hands were washed beforehand.

When touching high contact common surfaces such as the toilet flush, door handles or lift buttons, I would use my knuckles to press buttons or push surfaces. I would wash my hands before eating or drinking and before touching my eyes, nose or mouth.

When in a car, with others, I would keep the windows down, and the AC vent directed at me. I would prefer to sit at the window if a passenger on a vehicle.

When indoors with others, I would pay attention to ventilation and air circulation. I would prefer to keep windows open and the fan on. I would not switch off the AC if I am feeling cold. Instead I would keep the blower on, and figure something out for air changes and air circulation in the room.

I would meet my friends and family often. Just like any other human being , this pandemic has taught me the value of friends and family. I would prefer to meet them and hang out with them outdoors. Choose to meet, eat and make merry at outdoor venues.

I would choose to exercise in some form or the other, on most, if not all days of the week, for at least 30 minutes. I would choose to eat wisely, and make healthy food choices. I would eat in moderation, I would drink less and enjoy more. I would not consume any form of tobacco at all. I would meditate and do deep breathing exercises daily. I would be grateful for life, every day.

Here is a brief note for you to consider downloading and circulating amongst your friends , family and neighbours, and sharing with the management committee in your society. Or else, you can simply share this Blog post on social media.

Think Safe, Act Safe, Stay safe.

Third Wave!

Dear Reader , as we are well entrenched in the third wave of the pandemic in India as on 29 Jan 2022, it is important for all of us to discuss within our family , simple measures to stay safe.

From a WHO poster (
If you look at the rise and fall of the curve… you can easily discern the first wave, the second wave and now the third wave…… And it seems to have started its descent….. however too early to comment with certainty

Please have a quick look through this ready reference sheet and circulate to your family and friends.

Do educate your maids and feel free to have a conversation with our housekeeping staff and building security personnel too. Sharing information that is beneficial to everyone will always be received well, if the giver of info does so in a neutral and positive manner.

For those who have been infected with the coronavirus, or those who have been exposed to a case. Do not worry ; Do not get tested unnecessarily ; Seek medical advice from your preferred care provider .

In case you are unwell, just assume that you are infected , and refer to this handy Govt of India guideline of Jan 2022. Stay safe!

For those who reside in residential societies, you may please download the following document and forward to your Management Committees and to other residents.

Please dont hesitate to contact me directly on +91-8551095077 or for any additional information or updated guidelines.

How many more Waves will there be?

Possibly every child or even an adult today, towards end August 2021, has this very same question keeping them vexatiously perturbed!

What is probably foremost on everyone’s mind, is whether there will be a COVID Third Wave in India? When will this wave strike? Whom will it affect? No one is thinking of “are we ready” as we assume that someone , somewhere would be doing that for us!

If you look closely at the chart you can discern the multiple waves that UK and USA have had, with India having had only two waves so far. Please keep in mind that this data is not representative of absolute numbers, as it is converted into an easily comparable “rate per million population”

At this stage, all that we can be reasonably certain about is that the Coronavirus has not gone anywhere, a respite notwithstanding.

Learning from past experience, we will have to anticipate future waves, prepare ourselves suitably and reinforce COVID Appropriate Behaviours.

Source : Tata Trusts

COVID Appropriate Behaviour combined with vaccination, works to keep us safe! In this lull before the potential storm, it is advisable to make wise choices by staying away from Crowds, Crowded Places and coming in Close Contact with others.

Keep in mind that our safety lies in keeping everyone safe! Hence we must strive to get everyone around us, i.e our family, our domestic assistants, our neighbours, our friends, our security guards, our drivers, in short, just everyone must be vaccinated.

Vaccination is Win – Win

The highlight of my week has been perusing the publication of a ground breaking article in the Medical Journal of the Armed Forces of India. This article is all about the effectiveness of vaccination in safeguarding those vaccinated with the Covishield vaccine (Astra Zeneca- Serum Institute).

The Indian Armed Forces began vaccination with Covishield on 16 Jan 2021, and the data pertaining to vaccination done upto 30 May 2021 has been included in this study by Ghosh et al. This ‘VIN-WIN’ cohort study was carried out on anonymized data of 1,595,630 personnel of the Armed Forces.

Participants were deemed partially vaccinated (PV) and fully vaccinated (FV) two weeks after the first and second vaccine dose respectively. Any person who tested positive for COVID-19 after vaccination, was labelled as a case of breakthrough infection.

The results of the study confirmed what rational public health professionals across the world had a gut feeling about all along, i.e the vaccine protected individuals against infections and against death ! In this study, the vaccine effectiveness relating to prevention of COVID related deaths was 98.53% and for preventing of breakthrough infections was 91.8% to 94.9% ! What can be better news than this?

Plain language translation- the Covishield vaccine works . Don’t hesitate, vaccinate. Whether you choose Covishield or any other vaccine, keep in mind that you will be afforded ‘some’ protection for sure. And isnt some protection better than no protection?

However, the euphoria notwithstanding, we need to be aware of the limitations of this study too. This Armed Forces cohort differs from the broader Indian population as the participants have a younger age profile with minimal co-morbidities, being a generally ‘fit’ cohort. Also the findings ideally should not be extrapolated to other and older age groups.

For a quick overview of the study you can listen to Air Cmde Shankar, an infectious diseases expert from the Armed Forces, by clicking on this video

Ack: Air Cmde S Shankar and his colleagues in the AFMS

For those interested in dissecting the article and assimilating directly

Bottomline: Vaccination is effective! Do not hesitate, Vaccinate! Persuade others around you to get vaccinated at the earliest. Your safety lies in everyone everywhere getting vaccinated, sooner than later.

You may like to have a quick read- through the Key Messages for this pandemic and decide how best to disseminate these key messages to your family, friends, relatives and colleagues.

Lightning Strikes but Once?

Every monsoon, across Northern India (mostly) we have lightning strikes injuring many and killing a few! There has even been a video circulated on WhatsApp in 2020, showing four labourers getting struck by lightning while taking shelter under a tree, in Gurgaon (captured by one of those ubiquitous CCTV cameras that abound in urban areas).

While researching for a chapter written for the Association of Physicians of India Textbook of Medicine, I learnt that lightning injuries are reported in the National Crime Records Bureau database! Go figure!

Lightning injuries and deaths are not that uncommon nowadays. We might have come across recent news reports of lightning strike deaths in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Some of these unfortunate deaths were due to taking ‘selfies’ outdoors during a thunderstorm and some were just folks doing routine field work in rural areas.

The first myth we need to dispel is that the tallest object only will be struck or that taking shelter under a tree will protect you. Keep in mind that lightning is impersonal. Try to picture someone sitting at 30,000 feet and trying to send down a targeted bolt of lightning to a precise spot! Unrealistic right?

Being outdoors during a thunderstorm is the biggest risk factor. When we anticipate lightning striking the ground near us, assume the “lightning position” at the earliest, and hope that we are not struck.

Source: Tata Trusts

Stay indoors when there is thunder and lightning around. Practice the simple Lightning Position.

Please do share the above info sheet developed by the Tata Trusts, with your family, friends and colleagues. And do suitably translate and convey verbally to guide those around you who will benefit from it, especially to your building gardener, handymen, assistants, security guards, housekeeping staff.

Staying Safe : Key Messages for these Pandemic Times

Let us be the Change we want to see!

Every contribution to controlling this pandemic is vital, so do not under rate your own role! You are the Change that you want to see!

To keep us and our loved ones safe, just practicing COVID Appropriate Behaviour is not enough! We need to vaccinate ourselves and our loved ones, as and when eligible, and also get others in our society to adopt COVID Appropriate Behaviour as a part of their lifestyle, and get vaccinated too.

Medical experts after analyzing all the evidence so far, have recommended that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the minor side effects that may arise after vaccination. Be wise, listen to the people who know their science !

To build up on the stellar work done in reaching out to the community across India in the early part of the pandemic in Apr- May 2020, the Tata Trusts have further developed the Key Messages which are required to be assimilated at the community and individual level across India. #OneAgainstCOVID

Source : Tata Trusts

The first set of Five Key Messages are about simple steps to be taken by everyone to keep themselves safe in these pandemic times.

Source: Tata Trusts

The next Two Key Messages, are about stigma and discrimination (about cases, amongst those infected and those not infected, the vaccinated and those not vaccinated), which we need to focus on as the days unfold into weeks and months of the pandemic. Human beings are quick to stigmatize and discriminate! We need to resist this temptation, and express our solidarity with each other.

Source: Tata Trusts

The last One Key Message is to get everyone vaccinated!

We all will be safe, when everyone , everywhere is safe! That’s the catchphrase with any pandemic control.

Use every opportunity you get, to spread the 5 + 2 + 1 Key Messages to all those you know. Not just once, but again and again.

Please DO NOT share the above info sheet (s) with your family, friends and colleagues. Instead TRANSLATE into your own words and convey verbally to those around you who will benefit from it.

We need you to take action, today, tomorrow and every day!

An earlier post on the same theme, with a single poster conveying the Key Messages is available at

Please connect with us to discuss how we can assist you in planning and implementing a low cost yet highly effective Health Risk Communication and Community Engagement campaign focused on people you are concerned about, i.e your Company staff, your Society, your community, your school etc.

Domestic Assistants- Take care of them !

Work from Home, and even otherwise, most of us fully appreciate the unacknowledged contribution of our Domestic Assistants in making sure that all is well on the household front.

Source: Tata Trusts

We have a responsibility in taking care of our Domestic Assistants, to reciprocate their taking care of us and our families. Let us make all efforts to get them and their eligible family members vaccinated at the earliest, and guide them on a daily basis to adopt COVID Appropriate Behaviour, not just around us, but at home in their personal spaces too.

During this pandemic, in civil society, it has been observed that there is a tendency for regulation and enforcement to go overboard at times, driven by misplaced apprehensions and baseless fears. Let us work together with the volunteers in society and in our Housing Societies, to dispel misconceptions by providing clear and actionable guidance within and outside the house.

Source: Tata Trusts

Simple steps to maintain personal safety and hygiene at home start with guiding our Domestic Assistants suitably. Guide, encourage and support them to keep everyone safe.

Please do share the info sheets with your family, friends and colleagues. And do suitably translate and convey verbally to those around you who will benefit from it.

Already had COVID-19? What next?

In India as of 19th Jun 2021, though we have had many cases of COVID-19 across the country, affecting all strata of society (2,98,23,546 cases to date- as per , to give us a reality check, just about 2 out of every 100 Indians has experienced the disease, and the large majority of those, have got through unscathed with mild or asymptomatic infections. Maybe an even larger number did not get diagnosed, but suffered all the same. This would indeed be the most likely scenario given the state of reporting of diseases and the fragmented healthcare system.

By now, over a year and a half into the pandemic, we may personally know someone who has had COVID-19, or we may ourselves have been affected.

Even if you have been infected, and recovered, you still need to wear a mask at all times, when interacting with others, while maintaining physical distance. It is also advisable to take the vaccine (any), about 90 days after recovery. However, do check with your doctor, as these recommendations are evolving and updated frequently by the Govt of India based on emerging evidence.

Source : Tata Trusts

If you are one of those who has recovered, you need to pay special attention to avoiding known long-term effects on your respiratory system, by continuing efforts at deep breathing exercises and eating healthy.

Bottomline Those who have recovered from COVID-19, can get infected again. They need to continue COVID Appropriate Behaviour and take a vaccine when available / when due.

Recovery and restoration of baseline health and fitness after COVID-19 is a challenge for many. Fortunately, a sensible approach will reap dividends when prudence is kept the bedrock.

For those who have never exercised or just waddled their way through life so far, before COVID, this is the time to seriously consider taking up some form of exercise that is sustainable. Do not rush into a gym membership, or buy that expensive cycle, without first figuring out what should be the path to exercise that you will tread on nimbly, in the decades ahead, to stay healthy.

For those of you, who were “into fitness”, reconsider your goals, and reset your standards.

You must and should take it slowly!

“Listen to your body” – this is keystone of any approach that you choose to adopt in the days ahead.

We have become accustomed to hearing ever so often, “No Pain, No Gain”, however our new lexicon has to adapt and evolve to the new mantra “Pain, No Gain!”, meaning that if you are finding any exercise or exercise level ‘hard’, it is definitely not good for you, especially if you are recovering from COVID-19!

If you have any medical problem with your heart from before, or had any effect on your heart while you were sick with COVID-19, it is essential that you consult an allopathic medical professional to ascertain your fitness to resume physical exertion.

Please get active!

Note to Self: this is different from exerting! Whatever your medical condition, you will benefit from making a beginning, with baby steps at first, to move around. Begin first by getting around your house, indoors, and then move outdoors. Exertion can be a later step.

You can begin with deep breathing exercises, do these at home, while seated comfortably, do these daily. Applicable for everyone, irrespective of whether you have had COVID-19 or not.

Source: Tata Trusts

Now is the time to contemplate taking up some form of exercise in a graded manner after you recover from COVID-19. Listen to your body carefully. Don’t push yourself!

Modern times, pandemic times, as people constantly in search of quick fixes, for everything in our life, we would be searching online for what we can do to get back into ‘shape’ (whatever that may mean to you personally!) . Hence this next section is just what the doctor prescribed!

Your health is in your hands (or your legs), but every journey in your life, begins with making up your mind first! You are the one who has to undertake all required actions to keep yourself healthy and well.

So, why waste further time. Just do it!

Exercise is beneficial not just for promoting recovery from COVID-19, but also serves to safeguard you from many lifestyle and other diseases.

The right time to start is now.

Source: Tata Trusts

Exercise is good for you. Begin any exercise with the intent of sustaining a healthy lifestyle through old age too.

Just begin whatever it is you choose to do, today. Listen to your body , while at it!

Please do share the above info sheets with your family, friends and colleagues. And do suitably translate and convey verbally to those around you who will benefit from it.

You can very easily sign up to these infrequent posts to get up to date, authentic information, from a Public Health Physician, who cares ! Sign up by scrolling down to enter your e-mail ID.

Stressful times these!

After having lived through these pandemic times since early 2020, by now, irrespective of where we are in our lives, or where we are in India or in the world, we would have begun to appreciate that health is the only true wealth we can possess. 

We would now be acutely aware of the importance that Wellness has for our Wellbeing.  However, the human mind is rather fickle and we will just as easily forget the hard learnt lessons of today. 

Wellness and Wellbeing are in your hands!

Source: Tata Trusts

 Stress is an inescapable part of our lives today, with the unfolding pandemic keeping us on tenterhooks. In normal times, a modicum of stress would always be welcome, to keep the excitement level up. However in these challenging times, we worry every day, for ourselves, for our loved ones and some may even worry for humankind in general.

Periodically, we need to take a deep breath and look within, to find strength, for ourselves and others. Having a daily routine helps, it gives a structure to our day, it may even give us a semblance of the feeling that we can at least control some part of our existence.

We must all try to find our own ways to strike a balance, however impossible that may seem. We can start with simple steps, such as writing down a routine, for us to broadly follow, the best that we can. 

A daily routine helps in dealing with the stress of life in these challenging times.  

Source : Tata Trusts

In these stressful times, we may have also begun to appreciate that peace of mind is invaluable.  We have to tap into our innate strength (yes, all of us have reserves of emotional and mental strength, which we may not be aware of) and get through each day, with a positive frame of mind. 

Think positive (attitude), Stay negative (Corona).

Use simple approaches such as the 5 Cs to work on yourself. You have the ability, believe in yourself. 

Source : Tata Trusts

The ongoing pandemic is undoubtedly one of the most challenging events of our lives, and its prolongation is only compounding the difficulty of coping.

We need to recognize and acknowledge that all of us handle stress differently. We need to learn to handle the situation within the context of our personal and work life. Work-Life Balance seems to be a very simplistic term, however it is most crucial for us to strike a balance that works for us as individuals.

More than anything, this pandemic has taught us that we need each other more than anything else in the world. We need to reach out more, to our loved ones, to our friends, to our relatives, to our colleagues. Reach out often, simply through a personal message (and not a forward) or a phone call. Just do it!

Source: Tata Trusts

Please do share the attached info sheets with your family, friends and colleagues. And do suitably translate and convey verbally to those around you who will benefit from it.  

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Key Messages for these Pandemic Times

Most of us are fully conversant with COVID Appropriate Behaviour by now, and are aware of what all is being done and has been done by the Government and other agencies to control the pandemic, with varying degrees of success.

Just to remind you, COVID Appropriate Behaviour, i.e simply correctly wearing a well fitting mask consistently, washing our hands periodically, not touching our face (mouth ,nose, eyes) often, keeping physical distance from others, avoiding close contact, crowds, and crowded places, works well for adults, and for children too

However, what can help to more effectively control the pandemic and mitigate its impact, is, if all of us periodically disseminate suitable and consistent messages within our circles of influence, and motivate our families, friends and relatives to do so similarly.

Source: Tata Trusts

The first Five Key Messages , are important to be disseminated to those in our lives with whom we interact with regularly, including our domestic assistants, our building security personnel, the housekeeping staff, vendors and shopkeepers. These five key messages, if adopted uniformly by society at large, will possibly be decisive in halting ✋the coronavirus pandemic.

The next Two Key Messages, are about stigma and discrimination, which we need to focus on as the days unfold into weeks and months of the ongoing pandemic.

First, there was stigma and discrimination about cases, amongst those infected and those not infected, now there will be the same divisive issue about the vaccinated and those not vaccinated.

We can be victorious ✌ only when we overcome these petty barriers that stigma and discrimination pose for us as a society.

We all will be safe, when everyone is safe! That’s the catch with any measure that is to be instituted / implemented for pandemic control.

The most important one is saved for the last!

The one Key Message to hopefully vanquish the Coronavirus is the latest weapon we have, ‘the vaccine‘!

Don’t Hesitate, Vaccinate.

We need to strive to get everyone vaccinated.

In everyone’s safety, lies our own safety.

Use every opportunity you get, to spread the 5 + 2 + 1 Key Messages to all those you know.

Not just once, but again and again.

Please do share the attached info sheet with your family, friends and colleagues. And do suitably translate and convey verbally to those around you who will benefit from it.

Your family, your friends, your colleagues, we all need YOU, yes, 👉you ! to take action, Today!

Please connect with me if you would like to organize an orientation or training session on dissemination of these Key Messages , for your teams / organization.

Each one can reach many!💪

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