The Latest Covid-19 Surge Should be Curtailed Forthwith! Not a Time to Relax!

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  • The Covid-19 virus made its presence felt at the fag end of 2019. Now, we are almost halfway through 2022, but the virulent virus appears to be in no mood to withdraw completely.  As wave after wave keeps striking the universe, the global community finds itself subjected to challenging situations to not only survive but also eke out a decent living fighting against all odds.  We all have been through this.  No sooner do we think the virus is tamed than a new variant makes its presence felt yet again leaving us frustrated and helpless.  Of course, economic activity cannot be disrupted anymore using a blunt and unyielding instrument like lockdown/movement restrictions.  We have to live with the virus by overcoming the difficulties without disrupting our normal routine.

PC: PTI

  • The Indian situation is no different from other countries even though we have fared much better in terms of mortality rates. Additionally, the timely introduction of vaccine candidates has worked to our advantage too.  Worryingly, the recent surge in cases around the country is causing some concerns for sure.  As such, June marks an inflection point in the current trajectory of Covid infections.  Daily new infections began to trend upwards and recorded 8,084 on Sunday.  A month ago, it was about 25% of this number.  The upward trajectory in infection needs to be put in perspective.  When adjusted by population level, India’s situation is relatively better.  As statistics reveal, currently confirmed cases are about 5 per million people.
  • In contrast, it’s around 1,031 and 532 per million in Australia and Germany, respectively. However, there are other reasons why India needs to be on its guard.  About 65% of India’s population has finished double-dose vaccination.  In comparison, Australia and Germany among others have a higher vaccination coverage ratio.  We know the vaccination limits the severity of the disease, but it does not prevent infection from striking.  Therefore, the Union Government and state governments need to double down on public messaging about Covid protocols.  Concurrently, there’s a need for a renewed push on vaccination.  The booster offtake is just 39 million doses which is far lower than what could have been achieved.

PC: Dr. Francis Collins

  • Unfortunately, states appear to have relegated vaccination to their list of priorities. Worryingly, around 138 million vaccines with states are lying unutilized.  It is obvious the challenge now is not supply but a general slackening.  It’s unwise because India has used a rapid rollout of vaccination as an effective strategy to normalize, as compared to China’s self-defeating ‘zero Covid’ approach.  As you know, we are at a critical economic juncture.  It is incumbent to ensure there’s no Covid-related disruption again. Trials around the world show that using a heterologous dose results in enhanced protection. This should be permitted.  Another national sero survey to gauge the situation should be carried out.  Yes, we all need to keep our guard up for some more time too.