The novel coronavirus or popularly, COVID-19 was first detected in December 2019 as a case of pneumonia in Wuhan, China and has since gradually transformed into a worldwide pandemic, affecting more than 200 nations across the globe. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced this flare-up a pandemic on March 11, 2020 and called for facilitated systems to assist with readiness and reaction to the disease across healthcare domains. While the number of COVID-19 cases keeps on rising, medical services frameworks are quickly planning and adjusting to expand clinical requests. The striking rate of development of COVID-19 into a pandemic has compelled people to acquire and apply health information and adapt their lifestyle to adjust to the new normal.

Spreading of health awareness is of prime importance to the government. Health communication intended to educate people about the severe acute respiratory syndrome (symptoms of coronavirus) and how to avoid getting or spreading the infection has become widely available. Most valuable information is created in an easy-to-understand manner in TV advertisements, mobile caller tunes, that offers simple and practical solutions, such as washing hands, maintaining physical distancing and 24×7 guidance helplines where to find information about the latest recommendations, and advice. Occupational physicians have recommended hand hygiene, as the most effective measure involving minimal costs. Hands should be washed at regular intervals, using soap and water for about 20–40s. Alternatively, hands can also be cleaned with alcohol-based sanitizers (at least 60% alcohol). Workers should not touch the T-junction of their face to avoid contact with mucous membranes. Cough etiquette plays a vital role in reducing the spread of virus, i.e. coughing into a flexed elbow or sneezing into a tissue paper, that must be immediately disposed of. In this manner, individuals can acquire, understand, and utilize this information in a sound and ethical manner—and emerge to be more responsible and health literate citizens.

Unfortunately, there are also complex, contradictory, and misinformation going on the rounds, which are primarily circulated via social media platforms. Due to such information propagated across networks, there are different challenges surrounding governance and control from a policy point of view, during these challenging times. However there have been persistent efforts from government and healthcare sector officials to rely on authenticated information bases exclusively. However, despite taking all the above precautions individuals may be affected by COVID-19, and one should also take care for such contingencies if it happens. Some of these hospitalization expenses have reached as much as Rs. 30 lakhs in unfortunate complexities. Further these fake news are creating havoc on different online platforms which supply medical consumables like OTC drugs and medical supplies. Disruptions have been faced by firms who are attempting to manage the fluctuations in demand due to panic buying triggered by misinformation. In fact, self administration of drugs and medical services have created further complications in an already stretched healthcare industry.

However, health insurance has cleared the financial challenges for patient parties with both confirmed and associated cases with COVID-19 to arrange for clinical treatment immediately while additionally shielding themselves from being affected by the disease. In any case, money related security is just a single part of accomplishing wellbeing value during this flare-up. Many people who did not have access to health insurances, couldn’t fulfill the need of COVID-19 screening and treatment due to want of funds at the underlying phase of the pestilence in Wuhan city. Numerous patients with COVID-19 side effects posted ‘Help Me’ messages through web-based media, looking for treatment openings. The world is presently going through an economic turmoil due to widespread job losses and abrupt salary cut as an aftermath of the pandemic. A significant number of the working population are now jobless and an additional expense for COVID treatment would leave them devastated. Health insurances are a blessing under such circumstances. Web-based media can also act as a valuable channel for those with reasonable web education, however for the individuals who have limited or no access to the web, particularly among the older generation, the possibility of being hospitalized is doubtful.

A few insurance companies have now introduced a special package known as Covid Health Insurance which takes into account all the medical expenses and hospitalization charges incurred during the prolonged treatment procedure under an umbrella. Some of these platforms also helps you to take the most appropriate decision in terms of purchase decisions through a guided feedback from chatbots driven by artificial intelligence. This will not only benefit the common people by relieving them from financial crunch but also support them with the adequate medical assistance in times of need.

By Chakraborty

Dr Chakrabarty is the Chief Innovation Officer of IntuiComp TeraScience. Earlier she was Assistant Professor of Delhi University, a QS ranked university in India. Before that she has held research positions in IIT Mumbai, IIT Chennai and IISc Bangalore. She holds 2 patents and over 20 research publications in her name which are highly cited. Her area of research is in smart technologies, integrated devices and communications. She also has a penchant for blogging and is an editor of Business Fundas.