Hong Kong is an overpopulated, crowded place where people are closely packed together for lack of space. Add to that high humidity levels, and it is the perfect breeding ground for viruses. It witnessed one of the worst ever outbreaks of Flu, says, Suveera, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
It feels like I have travelled back in time to when my kids were infants, and sleepless nights were a norm. Walking through the days like a zombie, chain coffee drinking. That is how the last few days have been. Hong Kong has seen one of the worst ever outbreaks of Flu, and my house has not been spared, with my son down with Influenza B, and fevers touching 40 degrees(104 degrees Fahrenheit) I do not remember what sleep felt like.
This year the outbreak has seen severe consequences with over 120 people dead in a little over a month. Most of them elderly and two little children. It is said that this time the vaccine has not been effective in preventing the infection and the repercussions have been alarming.
The situation was beginning to get worrisome with more and more severe cases of the disease being reported from primary schools all over Hong Kong. The Education Department took the rare decision to shut all primary and early year schools almost 10 days before the scheduled annual Chinese New Year term break. Schools are hotbeds for infection to spread, especially amongst younger kids, where infection manifests to a severe degree. Social distancing would cut off the chain of infection.
Hong Kong is an overpopulated, crowded place where people are closely packed together for lack of space. Add to that high humidity levels, and it is the perfect breeding ground for viruses.
However, unfortunately, the worst is not yet over. Experts warn of another peak post the Lunar New Year holiday when all kids return to schools and offices reopen. This time it is predicted to be a different but more common strain of Influenza A virus, leading to a dangerous phenomenon known as ‘double peaks’.
Everyone is still being advised to take vaccinations, particularly the young children and the elderly. Those with underlying illnesses are being urged to get vaccinated at the earliest convenience, as it takes about two weeks for the antibodies to develop in the body, even after vaccination.
As is the case in any infection, people are being educated, about protection and prevention is being emphasized. It is important to stay at home when sick. Not just for yourself, but for the sake of not spreading the virus. Proper hygiene needs to be maintained with regularly sanitizing hands. People with lowered immunity should immediately take antiviral medicines to reduce the severity. These drugs inhibit the virus from spreading inside the host cells.
With all the progress that science has made, it baffles me how sometimes nature still catches us unaware, almost reiterating its supremacy. When despite the best of medical care and efforts, we still see humanity struggling somehow and bowing towards the ways of the Universe. All we are left with is prayers and hope.
My prayers are with the families that have lost their loved ones, especially the small children, who have barely lived a few years of their lives, lives that could have been successful and fulfilling. My heart goes out to the parents who had to see their own child lifeless and still. My hope is for a future where we can live in harmony with nature. Disease-free and healthy.
Photos from the Internet, sourced from the author
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Suveera Sharma is a postgraduate in English and a qualified software trainer. She is an avid reader and writer. Being the daughter of an army officer, she spent her childhood in various cantonments all over India. At present, she is settled in Hong Kong. She runs storytelling sessions for little kids and writes in her spare time.