- After a long wait of two and a half years, the global community finally started heaving a sigh of relief as the SARS-CoV-2 appeared to be on the wane following unimaginable destructions ravaging every economy during the interim. The vaccination drive essayed a tremendous role in ensuring the Covid-19 virus was kept at bay even as more variants and mutations kept occurring perpetually. The government authorities were right in proclaiming that citizens must learn to live with the virus and the exhortations were followed all around. However, complacency is second nature to humanity and the same has seeped around the world after enduring the debilitating effects of lockdowns and economic downturns. Life has to move on, you see.
PC: Mark Lesney
- In disconcerting news, the ugly head of the virus appears to be rearing once again as Covid related hospitalisations in the US have risen by 30% in the past two weeks, with the elderly hit the most. This is a warning to states in India to reactivate their Covid surveillance mechanisms which have taken a backseat over the last few months. WHO has also sounded an alert and asked countries to focus on fully vaccinating those most at risk. China, caught between irrational zero-Covid and fast-rising infections, is bolstering its hospital infrastructure. Note that the genome sequencing consortium INSACOG has discovered a new Omicron variant with a Delta mutation. The message emanating from these countries may not be alarming but calls for vigilance.
- While waves of viral exposure, vaccination, and consequent immunity levels may prevent a repeat of the Delta devastation, living with Covid leaves no room for complacency. To avoid harsh measures, authorities must track new variants and hospitalization, incentivize vaccine companies to develop and update vaccines and drugs, and persuade citizens to get vaccinated and boosted. After the Omicron surge in January, Covid had eased up allowing a full reopening of schools, colleges, and offices. But what followed was an unexpectedly sharp decline in vaccinations. Reports mention that nearly 7 crore people haven’t taken their second dose, and against 95 crore fully vaccinated individuals, just 22 crore have availed of the booster dose.
PC: Lisa Maragakis & Gabor David Kelen
- Just over 40% of eligible senior citizens have availed of the booster dose and only 25% of those in the 45-59 age group. These statistics are disappointing. Yes, most Indian vaccine companies have stopped production of Covid vaccines. SII stopped producing its workhorse Covishield last December after lakhs of doses expired. Extending incentives to domestic vaccine companies like SII, BB, and Biological E to update their vaccines for the latest variants should be useful. Here, citizens also have a role to play by continuing the use of masks and completing their vaccine course. The need of the hour is to temper our sense that everything’s normal with some caution. Otherwise, we may be facing yet another devastation that none of us want.