No Covid surge concern yet in India

Numbers are rising in China and France; Mumbai, though, reported only 2 cases on Thursday; wearing masks and protecting the vulnerable are keys.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Saturday, December 03, 2022, 09:01 PM IST
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Coronavirus test positivity rate is less than one percent | File Photo

Mumbai: While China is going through its worst Covid surge ever, with protests against restrictions rocking the country, France too has begun to see a rise in cases that has been predicted this winter for Europe.

It has been warned that China could become a breeding ground for potentially worse variants. The reasons are lower natural immunity among the population from being largely sheltered from previous waves; and the overall vaccination rate being low.

Experts, however, believe it’s too early to comment on whether there will be a similar rise in India, especially Maharashtra and its capital Mumbai, a hotspot during all earlier Covid waves.

The number of cases across India are on a steady decline

The number of cases across India are on a steady decline. On Thursday, Mumbai reported only two cases for the first time since March 11, 2020 when the pandemic struck. On many other days, the number has been below 20. However, the chances of the infection spreading again through asymptomatic carriers who don’t adhere to Covid norms can’t be ruled out.

As per the State Health Department data, last month Mumbai and Maharashtra recorded 817 and 3,577 cases, respectively, with test positivity rate of less than 1 percent.

State Surveillance Officer Dr Pradip Awate said it doesn’t mean we should become complacent. “Considering that the virus is still mutating and other countries are witnessing a surge, or the fifth wave, everyone needs to be more cautious,” he said.

The new variant in China will not have a dramatic effect on India

Dr Radhika Banka, a consultant pulmonologist at PD Hinduja Hospital and MRC said it seems less likely that the new variant in China will have a dramatic effect on India. She said 70 percent of our population is fully vaccinated and despite a relaxation in rules pertaining to masks, there hasn’t been an alarming rise.

Dr Banka said, “In vaccinated populations, most variants cause self-limiting illness. Moreover, variants in the future would be weaker and less pathogenic than the previous one.”

Omicron BF.7 variant was detected in India last month

However, the Omicron BF.7 variant, which is causing the current surge in China, has reached the United States, the UK, Australia and Belgium. It was detected in India last month. Experts said that the need of the hour is to understand that the pandemic is not over.

“There will be periodic regional surges coinciding with festivals and group gatherings. Wearing masks indoors and choosing outdoor over indoor gatherings are safe options. Vulnerable individuals would need to be specially protected,” said an expert.

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