India may be entering the endemic stage of covid

India may be entering the endemic stage of covid, says WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan Amidst the fear of Covid third wave entering India, the Chief Scientist of World Health Organisation Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said that Covid-19 in India may be entering a stage of endemicity.

This means that there will be low or moderate level of transmission going on. In the endemic stage, a population learns to live with the virus. This is quite different from the epidemic stage, the one where the virus overwhelms the population. She also said, she is confident that by mid-September WHO’s technical team will give clearance to Covaxin as one of its authorised vaccines. Speaking to a news website, Dr. Soumya said that given the size and heterogeneity of India as well as the immunity status, it is very very feasible that situation may continue like this with ups and downs in several parts of the country.

Therefore, groups that were not affected with first or the second or those areas which have low vaccine coverage, might see spike for the next months. “We may be entering some kind of stage of endemicity where there is low level transmission or moderate level transmission going on but we are not seeing the kinds of exponential growth and peaks that we saw a few months ago,” Dr Soumya Swaminathan said.

She also mentioned that by 2022, India can achieve vaccination coverage of upto 70%, after which the countries can get back to normal. While replying to a query regarding third wave, she mentioned that no one has a crystal ball, therefore, it is impossible to predict the arrival of third wave. No one knows when or where third wave will fall upon us, or if at all it will come. However, you can make a guess on variables that might have an impact of transmission, she added. Talking about vaccine support, she said that it is not believed that vaccination should be a prerequisite at the global level to do things like traveling. This is because there is so much inequity in in access to vaccines and not everyone has got the opportunity to get vaccinated.

Therefore, the first thing should be to get rid of this inequality and then allow people vaccinated to relax certain measures. On prevalence of Covid among the children, she asked the parents not worry about. She said that from the sero survey and data from other countries, it is learnt that although children could get infected, but luckily, they have mild illness and very few of them get sick.

The deaths among children will also be less than that among the adult population. It is good to prepare for paediatric hospitals, but we should not panic about several children crowding into ICUs, she added. Speaking of drugs like Remdesivir, Ivermectin or HCQ, she mentioned that till now there has been no evidence as to whether these drugs reduce mortality in people affected by the virus.

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