Renewed Covid Surge

AFTER a drastic dip in the Covid infections across the country, there has been a renewed surge in the cases. On Monday, there was a 90 percent spike in the new infections with most of these concentrated in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Delhi, which was reporting around 200 cases last week, is currently reporting over 500 daily infections with a positivity rate of 5.33 percent. Similarly, the count in Haryana has increased by four times. In Uttar Pradesh, the active caseload has now crossed the 600-mark with Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddh Nagar on alert. Are we on the brink of a fourth wave? Not yet. Experts have said the spike is no cause for concern yet. According to IIT Kanpur professor Maninda Agarwal the current rise in Delhi-NCR and adjoining districts appears to be due to the lifting of Covid curbs. He added that the natural immunity against Covid-19 among the people is now above 90 percent, which can pre-empt the spread of new virus variants.

At the same time, it won’t be prudent to rule out the fourth wave and go about our lives without following Standard Operating Procedures or take lightly the advent of new highly transmissible virus strains. In January-February, the third Covid wave triggered by Omicron caught on despite a predominant majority of the country having been vaccinated. However, the vaccination did substantially reduce the hospitalizations and deaths. It remains to be seen what level of transmissibility and the virulence the new variants possess.

As things stand, despite the sudden spike in the cases, the number is too low to be taken seriously yet.  So, coming days will be crucial as to the trend  of infections.  Any significant rise in the cases will require government intervention just as China has done in Shanghai. The world’s biggest city has been under a lockdown for some time. However, India is unlikely to go that far as unlike Beijing, New Delhi doesn’t follow zero-Covid policy.

It is thus premature to rule out more Covid waves and we have to be prepared for them. The world has been through several successive waves of the pandemic which have infected millions and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. With the abating of the Omicron wave which broke out early this year, there was a temporary sense of relief across the world.  The economies started re-opening in most parts of the world. But fresh surges in some countries and now in India also should be a warning that the virus is here to stay for some more time. In fact, it has already become endemic now.

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