The co-chairman of the IMA Covid Task Force has expressed concern over the increasing number of Covid cases in India, despite the availability of vaccines. He has also noted a drop in precautions being taken by the public, which could be contributing to the rise in cases. Additionally, he has highlighted the possibility of waning immunity among those who have already been vaccinated, which could also be a factor in the rise of cases.
On the midweek, India encountered a five-month high of 2,151 new Covid cases. Health practitioners have started to advise people about the upcoming risk of the virus’s resurgence. Dr. Rajeev Jayadevan, the former President of the Indian Medical Association and Co-Chairman of the National IMA COVID Task Force, shared that there are various causes of the surge in infections, such as genetic mutations, waning immunity, and the discontinuation of preventive measures.
Covid-19 is a viral disease that goes through cycles, which is why there are periodic surges in infections. These surges can occur due to the erosion of immunity, relaxation of precautions, increased mixing, travel, and genetic changes that allow the virus to evade the immune response. Dr. Jayadevan mentioned that the new sublineages of the virus, such as Omicron, are less likely to attack the lungs directly but may cause more severe infections, especially among the elderly. Nevertheless, the virus’s ability to infect the same person repeatedly, regardless of vaccination or prior infection, poses a significant challenge in containing the disease.
To reduce the burden on hospitals and the community as a whole, several measures must be implemented simultaneously, such as protecting the elderly during peak periods by avoiding crowded indoor gatherings in poorly ventilated settings. Dr. Jayadevan emphasized that masking and triaging at hospitals can help curb the virus’s spread from infected individuals to vulnerable ones.
Covid-19 can also damage the inner lining of blood vessels, resulting in long-term vascular complications despite symptoms similar to those of the common cold or flu. Therefore, it is crucial to avoid contracting the virus.
Dr. Shuchin Bajaj, founder and director of the Ujala Cygnus group of hospitals, emphasized that a large portion of India’s population has yet to receive their booster doses despite an increase in vaccination rates. This means that individuals who have not received a booster vaccination are still vulnerable to the virus’s spread. While vaccines are not 100% effective, vaccinated individuals may still contract the virus, resulting in so-called breakthrough infections that are usually mild or asymptomatic but can still cause severe illness. Dr. Bajaj stated that unvaccinated people, especially the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, may be at higher risk for severe illness and death.
In light of the sudden increase in cases, the Health Ministry conducted a high-level meeting with states and UTs through video conference on Monday to review the pandemic preparedness status. (IANS)
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