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NO TIME TO ESCAPE COVID -19 : ASHOK NILAKANTAN

Book review

 by : Prof. Neelam Mahajan Singh

Ashok Nilakantan has authored, ‘No Time To Escape Covid-19’ with indepth study and analysis of Corona. No one can forget the horrors of the Corona virus, when the whole world came to a standstill from December 2019 onwards. The nature had afflicted it’s assault on mankind. T. N. Ashok is a senior journalist, with fifty years experience in journalism. He is a former Economic Editor of Press Trust of India. The author has a varied experience on global health issues. He participated in the Earth Summit at Rio De Janeiro and WTO Summit in Singapore. Ashok Nilakantan has authored triple series of books on Covid-19, SARS, COV2 pandemic, that caused unimaginable global devastation. The biggest shock came from China, that reported of 37 million cases in a day! Sars Cov2 mutated into a new strain XBB5 in December 2022 from Omicron.

The book gives us information on the economic and human devastation caused by Covid-19. Ashok Nilakantan has taken great pains to explain to a common reader, as to how they ought to protect, not only themselves but also their future generations from this all pervasive virus. Mr. P. Narendra, ex D.G. P.I.O. has rightly given an  appreciation for this book by saying, “the author has found a sure-fire cure for the epidemic of ignorance on the disease”.

The book is divided into four parts and thirty-nine chapters, wherein the reader can easily cruise into understanding the causes, symptoms, methods of treatment and recovery, recommended from time to time by the World Health Organisation. The first six chapters analyze the resurgence of Omicron sub variant in China and how it was contained. A preliminary study reflects as to how Covid-19 broke out in Wuhan city of Hubei province in China, in September 2019, which was reported in December 2019. WHO recognized it and declared a ‘pandemic’ in January 2020.

No Time To Escape Covid-19, has a collection of P.M. of India, Mr. Narendra Modi’s speeches besides, special statements made by António Guterres, the Secretary General of United Nations and Dr. Sowmya Swaminathan, DG – WHO. “COVID-19 is here to stay. We could still face some surprises, so we need to monitor and adapt our responses as the situation demands,” said Dr. Sowmya! ‘Influenza A’ virus subtype H2N2 (A/H2N2) is a subtype of Influenza A virus. H2N2 has mutated into various strains including the ‘Asian flu’ strain (now extinct in the wild), H3N2, and various other strains. Interviews with medical professionals, a collection of more than fifty articles written by the author, on the impact of Covid-19 on the global economy, with specific reference to India’s economy, are incorporated in the book. How the Govt. Of India, came up with the robust plan to curb and contain Corona virus are explained in this book.

The book covers a list of approved vaccines available in India, i.e., Covaxin, Covishield, and Sputnik-V. Covaxin’s code name is BBV152. The worst affected countries of Europe, Italy, Spain and Germany had heinous impact of Covid-19 pandemic, causing endless casualties. U.K., France, Russia, Australia, USA etc. dealt arduously to contain this disease. It is an update on action taken by different countries in terms of facts and figures. A special report on the transition of USAs’ Donald Trump’s presidency to Joe Biden’s; health care plans are specifically narrated. Several containment measures were enforced by all nations. Stingent travel restrictions, including screening expatriate Chinese returning to their homes in Europe and USA are analyzed. It also talks about how China contained the spread of the pandemic in its country within a record time through the toughest of protocols including lock downs, shut downs of businesses and launch of the ‘zero tolerance policy’ and subsequent dismantling, under public pressure. There are detailed timelines of how countries such as USA, UK, India and Africa contained the pandemic on a day to day basis.

However Sweden contained Covid-19, without lockdowns and shutdowns of business or restricting movement of its citizens. This book is a guide to the frequently asked questions on how and what to do, when the disease hits us and what we need to know about the SARS, COV2 virus. Finland University published a white paper on how successfully India tackled the pandemic. The New York Times survey termed it as the ‘Dejavu of the pandemic in India’. The factual efficacy of vaccinations is discussed at great length. The statement on the COVID-19 pandemic, by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations was a warning. COVID-19 spread like a wild fire, relentlessly into every corner of the world, shutting down economies, choking off transportation networks and supply chains, closing schools, separating people from their loved ones, plunging millions of people into poverty. The pandemic’s most tragic toll has been on the health and lives of millions, with more than 500 million cases worldwide, more than six million deaths confirmed, and countless more grappling with worsening immunity and mental health issues.

Thanks to the unprecedented public health measures, and the extraordinarily rapid development and deployment of vaccine-delivery, that many parts of the world brought the pandemic under control. Manufacturers are producing 1.5 billion doses per month, but nearly three billion people are still waiting for their first shot. It is also a recipe for more variants, more lockdowns and more sorrow and sacrifices in every country. Our world cannot afford a two-tier recovery from COVID-19. Governments and pharmaceutical companies need to work together to multiply, and be able to produce vaccines and treatments by sharing licenses and intellectual property rights, by providing the necessary technological and financial support to one another. At the same time, strong national vaccine-delivery systems, including efforts to counter the disinformation campaigns are required. ‘Get vaccines into the arms’, waa UN’s advice. India sent medical supplies, oxygen cylinders and medical equipments to more than 150 countries.

This humanitarian gesture of Narendra Modi’s government was laudable. Science and solidarity have proven to be an unbeatable combination. The author says, “we must re-dedicate ourselves to ending this pandemic, for all people and all countries in closing this sad chapter in human history, once and for all”. It would be a grave mistake to imagine that the pandemic is over. The author has dedicated this book to his parents, Dharma and T.S. Nilakantan, his first wife Usha, wife Samantha, sons, Aareer and Sri Krishna. The picture of P.M. Narendra Modi taking the first shot of vaccination at AIIMS went viral. No Time To Escape Covid-19 is an essential book for medical professionals, students of medicine, international NGOs, Ministry of Health, Government of India, WHO, UNICEF and all medical colleges. Ashok Nilakantan’s sincere efforts to compile the information and methodology of health protection are the key factors of this book.

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