Some cheer: India’s coronavirus recovery count hits 1,000
When Tamanna Jain’s flight from the UK landed in New Delhi’s on March 18, her phone began to ping uncontrollably. The WhatsApp group of friends from Cambridge University, where Jain is a postgraduate student of Applied Mathematics, had been busy — sharing links on how the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) spreads, and posting news on other Indian students who had tested positive for the infection.
The following day, she visited the Civil Hospital and got herself tested. “Though I did not have any symptoms of Covid-19, I tested positive on March 20,” Jain said.
She was Sonepat’s “patient zero” -- treated at the BPS Medical College in Khanpur Kalan and discharged two weeks later, on April 2, cured of Covid-19.
The day she returned home, wearing track pants and a collared shirt, her face covered with a medical mask, it was an emotional moment, especially since her family members had been scared after she tested positive. “I was confident of winning this battle against the virus,” Jain said.
As the coronavirus spreads across the country, a figure that not many have paid attention to is that of the number of people who have recovered from the highly infectious Sars-Cov-2. In India alone, over 1,000 people around the country have been cured, while across the globe at least 410,000 people have recovered.
According to government protocol, a patient is considered cured after two tests, conducted on consecutive days, return negative results. These tests are conducted typically after at least 14 days. And around the country, health care workers, families and patients alike are treating these negative test results with much cheer.
On Sunday, a video surfaced from Chikkaballapur hospital in Karnataka, which showed a group of doctors and health care workers in scrubs and masks — standing at a safe distance from each other — clapping as cured Covid-19 patients walked out wearing masks and gloves. The hospital staff handed them fruit and a flower pot as a farewell gift. Linking to this video, Karnataka’s medical education minister K Sudhakar tweeted on Sunday: “There should not be fear about Corona, there should be awareness. Amidst the current challenges four fully cured at the government hospital in Chikkaballapur have been sent off with applause and flower bouquets. Proud of our doctors and health officials.”
This wasn’t unlike the reaction that one of China’s younger recovered patients, seven-year-old Wenwen, received as she left the temporary treatment facility in Wuhan on March 7. In a video that has since been watched over 800,000 times, we can see the doctors cry as they hand her a gift and tell her that her mother would be discharged the same afternoon. Another doctor wipes Wenwen’s tears with a tissue.
Lucknow’s Dr Tauseef Khan, who attended to the city’s first Covid-19 patient at the King George’s Medical University, would understand the sentiment. Six days after he first treated the patient, he tested positive for Covid-19, and was admitted to the isolation ward of the hospital. “It took me 21 days to recover, but those days taught me a lot,” he said. He spent that time counselling other patients of his, over the telephone.
“My time as a patient was busy. I realised that being admitted for a disease that has never infected humans before can be scary for many. So I kept talking to patients in the ward and over the telephone. Well-wishers kept calling to check on me too,” Khan said.
On March 15, Uttarakhand reported the first positive case of Covid-19. Shailendra Singh,a 26-year-old trainee Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer, was confirmed positive after he had returned from a tour of Finland, Russia and Spain. He was part of a group of 62 trainee IFS officers who had visited these countries for an educational tour. The trainee officer was quarantined at a health centre at the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Dehradun, and later shifted to Government Doon Medical College Hospital in the state.
Singh says that initially he was scared as the infection put a halt on everything in his life. After 10 days of isolation, he says that he stopped checking the news. “The news was about the increasing number of cases and the death toll. I wanted to feel positive and fight this disease with a good frame of mind,” he said.
“This whole time in isolation taught me a lot about life, about what we take for granted and how many things we can live without.”
(Inputs from Suparna Roy, Sunil Rahar, Gaurav Saigal, Venkatesha Babu)