Guest Column: Dr. Prabhudev
Alarm bells are ringing in India! Fear and panic seem to be driving the masses and the media.
The Return of COVID- No need for Panic. Caution, yes!
COVID cases in China have started surging at an alarming rate forcing the Xi Jinping-led government to rush to create hospitals. The authorities had eased the stringent curbs under the stringent ‘Zero COVID policy’ a couple of weeks ago.
Epidemiologist and health economist Eric Feigl-Ding has said that China and the rest of the world are about to spiral back into the pandemic wave in the next 3 months.
• The surge in China is mainly driven by BF.7 or B.A.188.8.131.52.
• B.A.1.and B.A.2 were the variants causing the Jan 2022 wave in India! B.4 and B.5 could not storm the Indian viro-sphere.
Wall Street Journal reported that one of Beijing’s designated crematoria for Covid-19 patients has been flooded with dead bodies in recent days as the virus sweeps through the Chinese capital.
As on 21st Dec 2022
• 88,172 new cases and 59 new deaths in South Korea
• 44,415 new cases and 197 new deaths in Brazil
• 206,943 new cases and 296 new deaths in Japan
• 54,613 new cases and 127 new deaths in France
• 19,155 new cases and 27 new deaths in Taiwan
• 51,121 new cases and 326 new deaths in the United States
The Omicron variant continues to diversify, and of more than 540 descendent lineages and more than 61 recombinants. Five are under monitoring due to notable genetic variation, increased prevalence, or impact on cases in more than one country. It added that BQ.1 variants, which are BA.5 descendants, are one of the fastest growing; BQ.1 has spread to 90 countries, with Ecuador, Portugal, Spain, France, and Colombia reporting the highest percentages
Is India safe?
India is better placed! Better immunity among Indians!
On January 16, 2021, the Government of India launched one of the most extensive vaccination drives against COVID-19. As of 2 December 2022, India has administered over 2.19 billion doses overall, including first, second and precautionary or booster doses. In India, 95% of the eligible population has received at least one shot, and 88% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated.
It is now believed that around 80% of people would have to be vaccinated for the pandemic to be brought to an end. Then statistically, one infected person would then infect less than one other, and the pandemic would peter out as a result. India has recorded 112 new coronavirus infections, while the active cases declined to 3,490, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday. It is to be noted that while India has not seen a surge in the number of COVID cases lately, the threat still looms!
How will we know when it ends?
You can’t sign a treaty with a virus! Globally there have been one million COVID-19 deaths so far this year – a “tragic milestone! More must be done as one-third of the world’s population remains unvaccinated. No one is safe until everyone is safe!
We no longer see a future where COVID-19 disappears. It’s going to be more like flu and less like measles. Measles you get once and then you’re immune for the rest of your life. COVID shows a different pattern. When the threat of the pandemic does eventually subside, the process will likely be gradual and incremental.
A Road Map to Reset the Nation’s Approach to the Pandemic
• Make the Booster dose mandatory!
• Masks are to be brought back
• Testing for COVID-19 must increase rapidly and dramatically
• Transformation into a big society built on mutual aid.
• Prevent critical systems from disruption or overload: supply chains, social care,
• principally healthcare- Ensure supply chains, oxygen plants, equipment, Medicines, doctors, paramedical staff
• Protect the market which delivers a good quality of life
• Decentralise response mechanisms prioritising the protection of life.