OneIndia24News: Virus moving with India on the move

Synopsis

The number of Covid-19 infections in Delhi, Mumbai, Noida, Gurugram and other parts of the country is witnessing a slow and steady rise.

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Though there is a slight uptick in the number of Covid-19 cases, epidemiologists are cautiously optimistic about the future trajectory of the pandemic in India.

They believe the absolute number of infections has limited meaning right now and that the new parameters must be moderate to serious cases and hospitalisation.

“When the society is open and the virus is moving around, cases will go up. If they are mild and asymptomatic, there’s no worry,” said K Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

The number of Covid-19 infections in Delhi, Mumbai, Noida, Gurugram and other parts of the country is witnessing a slow and steady rise.

After a sharp dip in Delhi, the positivity rate in the national capital increased to 2.39% and in the past few days, the city has started seeing an uptick in the number of new cases. On Thursday, Delhi recorded 325 new cases, the highest in 40 days.

Neighbouring regions are also witnessing the same scenario. Over the last few days, at least three schools in Ghaziabad and Noida have completely shut down physical classes and switched to online teaching after many students and some teachers tested positive for Covid-19.

Experts, however, say it is too early to predict that another wave is round the corner. They have urged caution.

“There is a minor uptick in reproduction rate and test positivity but not sufficient to say another wave is round the corner. We need to track for a little longer to see if this trend sustains,” said senior epidemiologist Giridhara Babu.

Chandrakant Lahariya, an epidemiologist and public policy specialist, said there was nothing to worry about as of now.

“We should be prepared for such situations. Watching epidemiological trends is like watching sea waves. One should be prepared for some rise and fall in cases. At this stage of the pandemic, the absolute number of infections has limited meaning. The new parameter has to be moderate to serious cases and hospitalisation,” Lahariya said.

In March, a study by IIT-Kanpur forecast a fourth wave of Covid-19 in the country from June to October. Many experts are, however, sceptical of the study and believe that most people are not likely to be seriously infected.

“We have to be careful about two sets of people – those who are immunocompromised and others with rapidly fading immunity where the past infection is six months old,” Reddy said. “It is important to wear a mask, especially in crowded indoor locations and large outdoor gatherings.”

“With testing being dismal, it is hard to tell noise from signals,” said Rajeev Jayadevan, co-chairman of the Indian Medical Association’s (IMA) national Covid Task Force. He believes the next Covid-19 variant is due in May. “My eyes are glued on South Africa and Botswana,” he said.

Reddy said people must be careful at least till April end.

“We can’t abandon all precautions suddenly. There will be fluctuations in the number of cases, and we will have to watch out for new variants. It’s a question of getting on with life with a certain degree of precautions,” he added.

Virus Moving with India On the Move, Worry Not

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