It has been more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the global population but the situation still hasn't come under control. Countries such as the US, India, Brazil, Italy and others are witnessing the new wave hitting hard with exponential rise in COVID patients.
Shortage of frontline workers, hospital beds, medicines, oxygen, and ventilators continues to hamper efforts to save lives, even as crematoriums and graveyards work non-stop to handle the mortality surge. Countries are taking some new steps to tackle this current wave. In India, some states have declared lockdowns, while others may take that route in the event cases continue to rise exponentially.
Vaccination is being looked at as the only option to prevent the virus from impacting more lives. Even as countries ramp up vaccination efforts, it’s only 3.2 per cent of the global population that is fully vaccinated. The US has administered a record 232 million doses of vaccines, followed by India with 145 million and the UK with 47 million doses. When it comes to the fully vaccinated population, Israel tops the chart with 54 per cent, the UAE 38.8 per cent, the US with 29.5 per cent, the UK with almost 20 per cent and so on. But in India, less than 2 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated.
In India, with half production of vaccines going to the open market from vaccine manufacturers, the question begs to be asked: do the vaccine stock meet the requirements? The Serum Institute of India (SII) that is expected to meet 90 per cent of India’s COVID-19 vaccine demand produces 65 million doses a month. With an average daily vaccination of 3.5 million doses, India would require almost 105 doses a month. And with the government now opening vaccination for the 18-45 age group, the world’s biggest vaccine exporter, is now struggling with a huge shortfall.
Amid all this, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major effect on lives of people all over the world. To reduce the spread of this virus and care for the affected people, many are facing challenges that can be stressful, overwhelming, and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Staying at home and maintaining social distancing when going out, along with use of masks continue to be the norm to stay safe. Stay-at-home orders for long may be one of the reasons to make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. Lack of proper knowledge about how COVID-19 spreads may cause fears about disease and death resulting in social stigma. The impact on people is more psychological than physical. Learning to cope with stress in a positive and healthy way will make us strong enough to fight the menace and become more resilient. Coping with stress during a COVID-19 outbreak will make the one, their loved ones, and their community stronger. It’s time to stay positive and mentally strong to ensure well-being of self and loved ones.
In this issue, we have an article by Kent L Bradley, Chief Health and Nutrition Officer, Herbalife Nutrition that focuses on stress-related illness, nutrition to combat stress and more importantly recommendations for healthcare practitioners to provide a more holistic service for their patients to deal with stress. Keep reading… Stay healthy and stay safe.