On one hand, the COVID-19 cases and related death counts are improving as compared to the last year due to the stringent vaccination drive globally. On the other hand, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is quickly undergoing mutations and is trying to wane natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity. The future will decide the winner between the above two. Till then, we cannot let our guards down. The infection still exists and is here to stay for long.
Factors Causing Spike In Covid-19 Cases
The COVID-19 infection rapidly attained the status of a pandemic since the first case reported in November 2019 in Wuhan, China. Although every country has put its best foot forward in curbing its spread, the virus keeps emerging as a newer strain and continues to infect millions worldwide. At present, the numbers of cases are either increasing or are almost stagnant in some parts of India. Several factors are responsible for this including, a low level of vaccination at these places, relaxations by the authorities, public gatherings without masks and social distancing, the opening of offices and people working together in a closed environment.
Removing Restrictions: What Are The Implications?
Lockdown, during the pandemic, was considered a double-edged sword. While it prevented the spread of infection, it also dents the economy, resulting in financial stress among the masses. The government officials have to keep a balance between both these events.
However, people are taking undue advantage of the relaxation during the pandemic. The country had already witnessed the severity of COVID-19 during the second wave. Among other factors, failure to strictly follow COVID-19 protocol during the relaxation given between the first and the second wave played a significant role in exponential transmission. People should understand that limited restrictions are still in force, and wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and getting vaccinated play a crucial role in avoiding the imminent danger of a third wave.
Are Covid-19 Variants Getting Better For Rapid Transmission?
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a type of coronavirus can mutate rapidly. Although not all mutations are significant and make the virus more pathogenic, some strains can lead to rapid spread and death related to the cOVID-19 infection, for example, the alpha and the delta variant. Newer evidence suggests that the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 favours a more efficient generation of aerosol, leading them to get more airborne. People infected with the alpha variant was shown to release 40-100 times more viruses, during breathing, than the original viral strain. Delta variant is more contagious than the alpha strain.
Mounting evidence also emphasized the importance of wearing a mask, especially for the person with COVID-19. It can reduce community spread by >50%.
Fully Vaccinated People Also Spread And Contract Covid-19
People should not let their guard down even when they are fully vaccinated. Although getting vaccination is critical for reducing the spread of infection, following the other measures are also necessary for complete prevention. Vaccinations are not the sure-shot method for preventing COVID-19. There are reports of fully vaccinated people contracting the disease and, in some cases, succumbing to complications. However, this risk is very low as compared to those who have yet to remain vaccinated.
Fully-vaccinated individuals can also act like super-spreader. They show no or very mild symptoms and hence does not raise suspicion. Evidence suggests that a fully vaccinated patient has a 38% chance of transmitting the virus to unvaccinated family members. However, this chance is reduced to 25% if the family member is also vaccinated.
Because of the increased potency of COVID-19 variants evolving during mutation, several countries have initiated the administration of booster doses, especially to immunocompromised people. India, however, is yet to decide in this regard. Visit the best hospital for Internal Medicine in Bangalore if you have not received the Covid vaccination yet.
Have We Reached The Level Of Herd Immunity?
There are speculations that Indians have achieved herd immunity based on the serosurveys done by ICMR. However, experts believe that herd immunity cannot be decided solely on the serosurveys. There is currently no indication of India achieving herd immunity. Some experts believe that many people are already exposed to Coronavirus and are naturally immune, while others rely on vaccines for herd immunity.
What Does The Future Hold? Analyzing Different Scenarios
There is no indication about how there would be unfolding of the events. There are three most possible scenarios. First, the pandemic may return with similar or more severity. It could occur as the immunity is rapidly waning and new variants of SARS-CoV-2 are evolving. The second scenario may be the COVID-19, like influenza, staying with us as a seasonal disease, which may sometimes erupt as a pandemic. The third and most favourable scenario to humans is that it may stay like a common cold.
Manipal hospital is one of the best Covid 19 Treatment Hospitals in Old Airport Road, Bangalore. They have the best internal medicine specialist in Bangalore working day and night to take care of your health and your needs.
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