Covid Is Back

AFTER a drastic dip in Covid infections across the country, there has been a renewed surge in cases.  India logged over twenty thousand new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, according to the Union health ministry data.  Though the numbers are still negligible compared to the successive Covid waves witnessed in 2020 and 2021, there is reason to be wary of a fresh spike in the infections. More so, with the advent of new  Covid variants. In the recent past, India has witnessed the emergence of a new super contagious omicron mutant that’s worrying scientists as it spreads in India. The mutant -called BA.2.75 – has also reached other countries, including the United States. In India, the rates of transmission are showing an exponential increase, according to experts. This is happening  at a time when vaccinations have hit 200 crore mark, 18 months after vaccinations began in the country on 16 January 2021.

According to official data, 96 percent of the country’s population has received the first dose of the covid vaccine, while 87 percent have taken both doses. On global scale, 62.1 percent of the world’s population is fully vaccinated against the virus. Starting July 15, 2022, the Union government has announced free administration of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for all adults in the age group of 18-59. As things stand, the response has not been encouraging. Though people were keen to get jabbed over the last two years considering the virulent nature of the initial Covid infections, they are not keen to take booster doses. This is borne out by the figures. According to the Union health ministry,  around 92 percent of Indians – , nearly 594 million adults – who are currently eligible for the precautionary dose, have not yet received their third jab.

As things stand, despite the sudden spike in the cases, the number is too low to be taken seriously yet.  So, the 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 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. 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.  It’s time for us to get back to wearing masks and observing SOPs.

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