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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Marina beach closed ~ Social distancing .. some good news on Corona

Visitors to homes in Triplicane are often lured to going to the pleasant Marina beach – but when they have paucity of time, and children cry to go – we would say ‘Marina is closed – locked, and would be opened only next morning !’.

Imagine an alien creature floating in space. It doesn’t grow, communicate or move at all under its own steam. Without a home it is inert. We know very little about it, except that it will start reproducing when it enters the atmosphere of a planet that suits it. Is it living? Is it dangerous?

People have forgotten totally that a month or so ago, the virus that is causing the Covid-19 pandemic around the world was not known, at all, to science, perhaps to humanity.  In the months and weeks since, researchers have been learning as much as they can about this pathogen — and at breakneck speed. Scientists have sequenced its genome and begun to create vaccines in the hope of making people immune to it. They’ve also learned, critically, that people can pass the virus on to others before they get symptoms themselves. That makes the virus hard to contain. But it also makes it clear that severe actions — like the social distancing measures in place in and around the world — are necessary in the fight to save lives. In between, there are social media Scientists busy in WA & FB dishing out newer rumours.

After months of outbreak – today some in Wuhan, the Chinese city hit hardest by the corona virus celebrated with fireworks as authorities began removing checkpoints after reporting no new cases for a third day, while other places also eased restrictions. The command centre handling the crisis ordered that the checkpoints – set up when the city was locked down in January to contain the spread of the virus – be cleared starting from Friday, as Wuhan prepares to return to work.

As you proceed, here is map of global affliction and  some facts collated from WHO web : 
o   Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new coronavirus.  However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever. This is because it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.
o   Only wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or looking after someone who may have COVID-19. Disposable face mask can only be used once. If you are not ill or looking after someone who is ill then you are wasting a mask. There is a world-wide shortage of masks, so WHO urges people to use masks wisely.
o    The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing.
o   Hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV. To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.

The encouraging news apart from Wuhan limping back, is most people who contract the novel coronavirus experience mild symptoms, according to data from China, where the worst of the epidemic now appears to be over. Last month, scientists from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention published a research paper analyzing the data for the first 72,314 people diagnosed with Covid-19. Epidemiologists say it will take a long time to fully understand the mechanics of the coronavirus outbreak, but the information published by the Chinese scientists may give some insight into those most vulnerable to the virus.

The data shows that men and women have roughly the same chance of contracting the virus. When the scientists looked at 44,672 patients confirmed to have the disease, they found there were 106 diagnosed men per 100 women. While 2.8% of the men diagnosed with the disease died, only 1.7% of women did.

Had heard this word ‘corniche’ in Gulf and thought it to be representing beach.  A corniche is a road on the side of a cliff or mountain, with the ground rising on one side and falling away on the other. The word has been absorbed into English from the French term route à corniche or "road on a ledge", originally derived from the Italian cornice, for "ledge". The Cornish people are a Celtic ethnic group native to, or associated with Cornwall and a recognised national minority in the United Kingdom, which can trace its roots to the ancient Britons who inhabited southern and central Great Britain before the Roman conquest.

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever ~ and one such is ‘Marina beach’ known for its  pristine beautiful sandy shores - that runs from Fort St George to Besant Nagar. This beach has a long history.  This was conceived in 1884 and christened by Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant-Duff, the then governor of Madras – the beautiful beach  is famed for the  ambience and rich eco system though it  stands a lot polluted now.   On the road side, many stone statues, some of them installed during the Tamil World Conference adorn the area.  There are famous landmarks like Vivekanandar Illam, Presidency College, PWD building, University and more.

Early morning the famous Marina beach offers intriguing things.  There are young, old, fast, slow, and varied people indulging in chit-chatting, eating and drinking the various health drinks ! that are sold on pavements.  You can see people walking, fast-walking, jogging, sprinting, skipping, doing physical exercises, yoga, laughing out loud – more – all law unto themselves – thinking and spreading that these are the passport to good health.  For every visitor, Marina beach offers cool breeze and a serene atmosphere.. .. confirmed news is that ‘Marina is closed’ and out of bounds of people from 3 pm today – most probably would be opened back after the ‘Janata Curfew’.

Humans benefit from some viruses, too. A group called bacteriophages help keep us well by killing disease-causing bacteria. Researchers are starting to use these phages to treat bacterial infections. Viruses can even become an essential part of a host’s genetic code, providing genes required for survival.  A new field of study known as viral ecology is providing insights into the interactions between viruses and their hosts. It is a gargantuan task.

I pledge to support the #Janata Curfew and participate in #Seva Aabhar in appreciating the services of those involved in protecting us.  Let us stand together in fighting the dreaded virus.

Jai Hind.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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