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Representational picture
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BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh is far from achieving the herd immunity against Covid-19 as merely 35 per cent of population has battled the infection and developed antibodies. Thus vast majority of the population are still at risk of the fatal disease. Stopping Coronavirus will require at least 70% of the population to be immune. The state is witnessing a spike in Coronavirus cases in the last few days, the infection has started penetrating the rural areas.

Medical experts are of the view that an increase in public movement from urban to rural areas and vise versa has led to spread of infection in newer areas.  In addition to major cities like Indore, Bhopal, smaller districts are also reporting active cases on a daily basis. In February, active cases were below 1000 and now the figure has climbed to over 3,500 in Madhya Pradesh. Big cities and small towns are jointly contributing to the disease tally. 

Dr Lokendra Dave, HoD, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, GMC,  over 70% of a population needs immunity to attain herd immunity and currently in the state only 35 per cent population, who were infected, have developed antibodies against the virus. So the vast majority of the population remains at risk of getting infected so all precautions need to be taken, said Dave. He further cautioned that Coronavirus is fast spreading in rural belts which during lockdown were comparatively safe as the public transport was restricted.

The virus is spreading in rural areas as transportation and movement of public from urban to rural areas and vice versa has resumed.

Dr AK Shrivastava, medical superintendent TB Hospital, said, “We cannot achieve herd immunity as long as 70 per cent to 80 per cent population develops immunity.” Herd immunity is natural resistance against any disease, he added.

Shrivastave also expressed concern over the surge in cases in rural areas. People are not also coming out for vaccination which is a big concern. People cannot lower their guards and all health protocols, be it social distancing, wearing masks, and hand hygiene need to be followed strictly, he added. Under these circumstances, arresting the infection spread has become very difficult, he added.

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