The Coming of End(Demic)?
I have been speaking with cross section of folks over the last few days. Covid Command Center Officials, Health Ministry Officials, Our Doctors, some experts across the world to understand what we are calling the ‘Second-Wave’ of Covid. Many social media posts, new reports are completely confusing the masses now that a few places have now imposed the so called ‘Second-Wave of lockdown to manage the situation. Let me dissect the situation and ally some of the misconceptions and fake news going around. So here are the issues I am hearing
- With increased vaccination rate, there is increased covid infection rate
- Are the spikes in coronavirus cases due to more coronavirus testing?
- There is very high incidence in Maharashtra and Delhi and will spread across the country after the Kumbh Mela
- There is shortage of beds, medicines, vaccines to meet the current wave
- What should I do?
So is there an End(Demic) in sight to this Covid?
With increased vaccination rate, there is increased covid infection rate
This is totally incorrect. India had administered 111 million doses of vaccine and covered about 7% of the population with one dose. So there is no correlation between vaccination rate and the spike in the Covid Cases in this wave which is due to the following reasons:
A new double mutated strain of SARS CoV2 has been detected in second wave. This is in addition to Brazilian, South African and UK strain. This new mutated virus has the potential to skip the immunity and even vaccine. This is the reason for re-infection cases & cases among vaccinated people.
- It is more infectious & affecting younger population of 18 to 45 years group and this group is “super preader”.
- By passing RT-PCR – new COVID cases may not be detected by routine RT-PCR test.
- R- value is increasing. This is reproductive value which tells one positive person will infect how many others.
- Public carelessness & lack of adherence to COVID appropriate behavior (mask, hand sanitization, social distancing & vaccination).
- Pandemic Fatigue
Are the spikes in coronavirus cases due to more coronavirus testing?
No. During a surge, the actual number of people getting sick with the coronavirus is increasing. We know this because in addition to people testing Covid positive, the number of symptomatic people, hospitalizations and later, deaths, follows the same pattern. Therefore there is a correlation.
There is very high incidence in Maharashtra and Delhi and will spread across the country after the Kumbh Mela
It is true that Maharashtra has the highest number of Covid positive cases in India at the moment. However other cities and states are quickly catching up with newer cases showing up with a lag effect. The latest map show the spread. (see the map below)
There is shortage of beds, medicines, vaccines to meet the current wave
Yes there is a lag in the capacity creation and supply with this sudden surge in this wave. Many of the temporary facilities which were lying vacant as the Covid cases went down were utilized for Covid Vaccine Centers. They have now been been used for the treatment and isolation of Covid patients in this wave. On the supply of the injections, many of the manufacturers had now produced these medicines as the demand for them had reduced since October 2020. They are now ramping up production of Remdesivir and this should be available by next week. On the vaccination front, the politics still continues, while a third vaccine from Russia is being given emergency use approval and should also be available by the end of this month.
What Should I do?
Authorities, doctors, clinics and hospitals recognize that more waves are likely to occur. Here’s what you can do now:
- Continue to practice COVID-19 precautions, such as physical distancing, hand-washing and mask-wearing.
- Stay in touch with local health authorities, who can provide information if COVID-19 cases begin to increase in your city or town.
- Make sure your household maintains two weeks’ worth of food, prescription medicines and supplies.
- Work with your doctor to ensure that everyone in your household, especially children, is up to date on vaccines, including your Covid Jab
So is there an End(Demic) in sight to this Covid?
So how will these Covid Waves End? Do we see any endemic in sight? Throughout the pandemic, health experts have tended to set the magic number for herd immunity between 50% and 70%. Some of the data coming in shows that
Presumed ‘herd immunity’ is ‘the combined value of infections + vaccinations as % population > 60%
Let me explain the above formula:
Herd immunity is a public health term that refers to the fact that, when enough people in a community have immunity from a disease, the community is protected from outbreaks of that disease. More than 60% of the population needs to be immune to the coronavirus before herd immunity can work. People might be immune from the coronavirus, at least for a while, if they have already had it, but we don’t know this yet. Researchers are currently trying to determine if, and for how long, people are immune from the coronavirus after recovering from Covid. If it turns out that immunity only lasts for a while, people could get Covid again, resulting in even more death and disability. This is the lesson from this wave.
Our country needs to speed up the immunization rate which may take months before we see an end!