Coronavirus: Is the epidemic finally coming to an end in India?
Why is India so far from achieving livestock protection?
A recent sero study – a study that takes antibodies – shows that 21% of adults and 25% of children are already infected.
It also found that 31% of slum dwellers, 26% of non-slum dwellers and 19% living in rural areas have contracted the virus. That is well below 50% – a figure reported by other major cities, such as Pune and Delhi. Here, there is evidence of very high levels of exposure to the virus, suggesting that these areas may be close to protecting the herd.
But experts say the numbers are still too low.
“No region in the country can be considered as secure as a herd, although there may be small pockets,” said Dr K Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India, a psychiatric team based in Delhi.
Therefore people who have not yet been exposed to the virus in high-risk areas may remain protected in their communities but may be at risk if they travel to areas where transmission rates are low.
Now why are the cases down?
Experts say that there may be a number of different reasons.
For one thing, India has seen a “patchwork” epidemic with drowning cases and declining at various times in different parts of the country.
More people are infected in cities – especially in overcrowded slums – and in developed, urban areas than in small towns or villages. In all of these areas, their susceptibility to the virus has varied greatly. Cases are now declining in many urban areas, but rural areas in India are still a mystery.
“My prevalence of infection is much higher than what the study suggests. And we should not consider India as one. In some cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, and Bangalore, up to 60% of people have been diagnosed with the virus. So everything is different,” he said. Dr. Shahid Jameel, a leading virologist.
Another explanation is that India has many cases and continues to miss out on many cases, especially because a large number of infected people have no symptoms at all or have a very small infection.
“If we have had a lot of very small or asymptomatic cases, we may have reached the limit of self-defense in the herd. If so we still have to explain, why were so many Indian cases so small?” Asked Partha Mukhopadhyay, an official at Delhi’s Center for Policy Research, who was studying the epidemic.
Is the low mortality rate a mystery?
Most scientists believe that more Indians died from infections than from official statistics. India has a poor record of deaths and large numbers of people die at home.
But even such a low reporting rate did not cause public panic or frustrated hospitals. Think about this. India has about 600,000 villages. Even a single undiagnosed and unrecognized death from Covid in each district every day would not undermine the public health system.
India has demanded immediate closure, in late March to curb the spread of the virus. Scientists believe that the closure, which lasts for about 70 days, prevented many infections and deaths.
Distribution has declined in the worst-hit cities due to increased use of face masks, exercise, school closures and offices and home workers.
Scientists also attribute small-scale homicides to juvenile delinquency, the immune system, the rural population with neglected links to cities, genetics, poor hygiene, and too much protein to protect the lungs.
Hindu devotees gathered at Kumbh Mela as Covid charges dropped
Many studies suggest that the infection is further transmitted by a virus floating in the house, with tiny droplets hanging in the dry air in airless rooms.
But more than 65% of Indians live and work in rural areas. For example, Brazil is about three times larger than India, and that in part could account for the high number of cases and deaths there, say scientists.
In the cities, the majority of Indian workers have participated in the informal economy. This means that many of them, such as construction workers or street vendors, do not work in confined spaces. “The risk of transmission is lower for people working in open or closed airy areas,” said Dr. Reddy.
Did India avoid the second wave?
It is too early to say.
Some experts fear that India may see an increase in the number of diseases with the onset of the rains, which also signal the onset of the country’s flu season. It runs from June to September and causes severe flooding throughout South Asia every year.
“The start of the next rainy season will be critical. We can conduct a detailed assessment of whether the epidemic has continued in India after the end of the season,” said a pathologist.
The real elephants in the cage, scientists say, are new strains of the virus identified in South Africa, Brazil and the UK.
As a large number of Indians have not yet been exposed to Covid-19, major difficulties can easily travel to uninfected areas and cause new outbreaks.
India has reported more than 160 cases of UK diversity up to the end of January. It is not clear whether some of the differences have already been made in the country. India can also have a home-grown variety.
India caption India has recorded more than 10 million diseases so far
UK diversity was discovered in Kent in September, but it was the result of a second full-blown wave two months later. It has since become available in more than 50 countries, and is now facing global problems.
India has enough science labs, but the genetic sequence is still spot on, say scientists.
“A different story is the biggest one. It could affect all of our statistics. We have to be very careful, and our labs have to develop genetic sequences to look different,” said Dr Jameel.
Clearly, India needs to speed up its immunization