Saturday, May 27, 2023

India Kovid cases at 22-month low amid global boom

After a nearly 40-day decline in what appeared to be the peak of the worldwide omicron wave, new cases of COVID-19 – fueled by rising infections in several counties in Asia, Oceania and Europe – have started to rise again. The last two weeks, the data shows.

However, the pandemic numbers in India are clearly defying the global trend – the seven-day average new Covid-19 cases in the country is currently the lowest in 22 months, according to HT’s dashboard.

What is encouraging for the country is that many countries are seeing their first wave of the highly permeable Omicron variant, whereas India has already been through its Omicron-linked spike in January. In addition, despite an increase in infections worldwide, and even deaths in many countries (with rising to record levels in Hong Kong and South Korea), vaccination still remains a risk factor for serious disease according to real-world data. Provides great protection against

Experts said that while cases are rising in many countries that have already seen past omicron surges in early 2022, the situation in India remains of relative comfort. He said there is a need to be cautious about a possible outbreak, but there is nothing to be worried about as of now.

Illustrations showing the global COVID-19 surge.

Concerned by this reversal in the global case curve, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said the rising numbers appear to be “the tip of the iceberg”. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday, “These increases are happening despite a reduction in testing in some countries, which means that the cases we are seeing are just the tip of the iceberg.”

The global COVID curve is now clearly facing another resurgence, and a reversal in trend. The global seven-day average of new cases, which had been falling since January 24 (when it hit an all-time high of 3.45 million new cases in a day) has come down to 1.48 million cases a day (or a 57% drop). Gone. According to Our World in Data, the week ended March 2. Since then, that number has been rising for two consecutive weeks – for the week ended Wednesday, it was 1.75 million cases a day, up 18%.

In terms of regions, Asia is the biggest contributor to the global tally, accounting for almost half (48%) of all new cases reported in the world in the past week. It is followed by Europe, which currently accounts for 42% of all new infections in the world. Australia and New Zealand account for 3% of cases, despite being less than 0.4% of the global population.

But a closer look at these statistics gives a clearer picture of what’s going on.

Read also | India increased vigilance as Kovid infection increased globally

Most of the countries in Asia and Oceania, which have seen an almost vertical increase in infection numbers, are now only seeing their first omicron outbreaks – a trend that was common in almost all countries that reported a similar increase in December. Had seen -January. Among these are regions such as Hong Kong, South Korea, China, Vietnam, New Zealand and Australia – all countries that have so far been more successful than others in keeping the Omicron variant out of their borders. As such, it should come as no surprise that cases are increasing in these regions as a greater proportion of the population in these countries will be vulnerable to infection – a factor that is strongly attributed to a highly permeable variant of Omicron such as Sars-Cov-2. supports.

The worst of the wave is being seen in Hong Kong, which has earned the grim distinction of seeing the deadliest outbreak recorded in any country in more than two years after the pandemic. In the week beginning Thursday, an average of 37.6 people lost their lives to the viral disease every day for every one million residents in the island state, the highest number anywhere in the world.

The position of the second group of nations appears to follow a path that is relatively a cause for concern (especially for countries like India). These are nations such as Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the Netherlands that have already experienced a strong Omicron surge in late 2021 or early 2022, but are now experiencing a resurgence of infections. However, the mortality rate in these countries is low.

For example, in Switzerland and the UK, the seven-day average of new cases has increased by 85% and 80% since March 1. In Germany, this number has seen an increase of 51%, while it has risen by 40%. in France and the Netherlands. In terms of deaths, Switzerland has seen a 35% spike (highest among countries here) over the same time period, followed by Germany (24% increase), and the Netherlands (20%). Meanwhile, France and Britain have seen a drop of 35% and 7% of deaths respectively since March 1.

Experts warn that since many of these countries avoid outbreaks in certain population groups (such as the elderly) with early mass vaccination, decreased immunity may be a cause for concern. In such people, boosters, the study suggests, may be good for only four months of strong infection protection. In addition, many European countries such as the UK had already begun to waive all pandemic restrictions (including mask mandates), which naturally led to a spurt in cases. If this is true, it is a warning to Indian policy makers on the importance of booster doses for all adults and the continued mask imperative.

There’s an unknown variable here that scientists are still tracking — the evolution of the virus. Recombination viruses of Omicron’s BA.1 and BA.2 lineages are under investigation, as are versions that appear to be a mixture of Delta and Omicron. Scientists in Europe fear that such factors may be responsible for the spread there, although it is too early to tell what role these sub-lineages are playing, if at all.

“The only major reason to be worried in the global arena is the evolution of the virus. Countries around the world will have to closely track genomic changes to see if they can confer the virus with the ability to spread faster, become more resistant or cause worse disease,” said Indian Medical Former head of the association, Dr JA Jayalal said.

Back home in India, things are polar opposites. After witnessing a third wave of infections in January, India is currently going through perhaps the smoothest phase of the pandemic since the full onset of the outbreak in the country in 2020. In the week starting Thursday, 3,115 new cases were reported. country on average every day. According to data compiled by HT, the number is the lowest in more than 22 months – the last time being on May 7, 2020, or 678 days ago, the country had a seven-day average low.

On Thursday, Indian officials said that keeping in mind the global rise in infections, they plan to increase home surveillance by testing all cases of respiratory infection admitted in district hospitals across the country for COVID-19 using RT-PCR. are making.

Other datasets give hope that even a strong resurgence of cases may be counterintuitive. Data from Switzerland (one of the only countries in the world that publishes daily death numbers separate from vaccination status) shows that despite an increase in all cases, the benefits of vaccination hold out in the real world. Two shots of the vaccine provide protection against the mortality rate to 86 percent. According to Swiss data, people boosted with the third shot have a 96% higher chance of survival (without vaccination).

Jayalal said, “In a global pandemic, there is always a need to be vigilant about any flare-up, but as of now there is no reason for India to be concerned about a spike in infections as we see in many countries abroad. I’m looking.” , “As far as vaccination is concerned, Indians are well placed in terms of coverage of our population. Certain sections that are exposed to the virus for a long time such as healthcare workers or those who are immunocompromised may be given additional Doses may be needed, but as of now, India’s vaccination coverage adequately holds up.”

So far, booster doses have been authorized in India for frontline healthcare workers and people above the age of 59 years.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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