Was such a pandemic expected? Would it hit the world in such a drastic way? Would everything come to a standstill?
Researchers say that a pandemic of this magnitude was in the offing for years. Annually millions of viruses enter the human gene pool but do not get the right receptor to hold on to or the right host for the spread.
Well this time everything just happened right for everything to go wrong. The cause of the virus drops into the human genome is yet an unconfirmed factor. Some say the mode was from a bat to a pangolin to a human, while some yet think it could be lab-grown. What's next? How does the world overcome such a pandemic with minimal damage?
Industries worldwide have been hit, labor force at a standstill, no human contact, oil has plummeted on increased supply with little or no demand, stock markets have lost about 30-40%, little to no liquidity of cash. In my opinion, almost all industries in some or the other ways will resume. Yes, there most certainly will be a change in how they operate now on. What about dentistry? To give a gist have a look at the illustration below:
Dentistry will certainly not be the same again. In India, the lockdown has been in place for a month now and with the current scenario looks to get extended even further. The virus will not disappear overnight, also we have no solid information on the relapse or developed resistance once contracted. With no vaccine or shots yet developed and with only symptomatic relief, the suffering may continue.
A Dental office in these times will be the most susceptible place for the spread of the virus due to the droplets and aerosols produced within the operatory. The dentist will be at high risk and also a major contributing factor to the spread of the virus. Having known a few facts about the SARS-COV2 that it has the capability to survive on various surfaces for a few hours to days. It is also virtually impossible to ask every patient who walks in to get themselves tested for Covid-19 until some testing program is put in place by the government. Currently, only private lab testing is feasible which is expensive and would still be about 70% efficient.
The COST FACTOR is the most accountable and rather the only factor in a country like India. The cost of PPEs, N95 respirators, disposables, disinfectants, sterilization protocols. If even a small procedure like an extraction can cost you a few thousand rupees. Variable to the procurement costs of the above-mentioned requirements. Even after all the precautions being taken, there is still a chance of the virus spread. As of right now, we do not know everything about the disease. Little knowledge is more dangerous than no knowledge.
Yes, we all have patients who need emergency treatments, pain management being of utmost priority. We do feel sorry for the patients who have been on oral medications for a long time.
Also, there is yet no certainty on when we can resume practice as before. Will life be the same? Will mass practice or class practice still matter? Can you do mass practice with the right virus infection protocol at reduced costs? Only time will tell.