There’s an early indication of a plateau in Covid cases: Govt

Early indications of a plateau in Covid cases have been reported in some places but the trend should be watched, the Union Government said on Thursday while noting that 400 districts have recorded a positivity rate above 10% over the course of of the week ending January 26.

Stressing the need to continue taking precautions to curb the surge in infections, he noted that Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan were recording high numbers of Covid cases and positivity.

Simultaneously, a drop in Covid cases and positivity rate was seen in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Odisha, Haryana and West Bengal, the government said.

Addressing a press conference here, Lav Agarwal, co-secretary of the Ministry of Health, said: “Early indications of a plateau of cases are being reported in some geographical areas. The trend should be observed and the required precautions should be pursued.

“The top 10 states by active cases contribute over 77% of the total number of active cases in the country. Over 90% of these active cases are in home isolation, indicating mild to moderate clinical severity,” Agarwal said.

During the press conference, a comparison of key indices during the second and third wave of Covid infections in India was presented.

It showed that on May 7 last year, at the height of the second wave, 4.14188 new cases and 3,679 deaths were reported. No less than 17,40,446 tests were carried out that day and the proportion of fully vaccinated people was around 3%.

On January 21 this year, 3,47,254 new cases and 435 deaths were reported. A total of 19,35,912 tests were reportedly carried out that day and the proportion of people fully vaccinated was around 75%.

A clear trend in terms of fewer cases requiring oxygen beds or intensive care beds is seen, Agarwal said.

“The number of active cases and corresponding deaths is much lower during the current outbreak compared to previous outbreaks,” he said, pointing out that vaccination provides support in terms of fewer cases, fewer hospitalizations and lower severity of reported cases in the country.

Cautioning against laxity in observing proper Covid behavior, Agarwal said 400 districts reported more than 10% weekly Covid positivity while in 141 districts it was between 5 and 10% at during the week ending January 26.

On the prevalence of Omicron variant of coronavirus in India, he said, 1,292 cases of the latest worrying variant were discovered during genome sequencing in December, which rose to 9,672 in January.

Agarwal said 11 states had over 50,000 active Covid cases including Karnataka, Maharashtra and Kerala with over 3 lakh active infections.

Regarding vaccination coverage, the press conference was informed that 95% of Indian adults have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine while 74% are fully vaccinated.

Additionally, 97.03 lakh of healthcare, frontline workers and comorbid people aged 60 and above received the precautionary dose of the Covid vaccine while 59% of adolescents in the age group 15- 18 year old received the first dose.

Asked about media reports that there are discussions whether the third dose is needed for all, Agarwal said there have been no such discussions.

“Whenever a scientific and evidence-based discussion takes place, we will share the factual information with you. Whatever vaccine was launched in India, it was based on evidence submitted to the relevant technical group and there should be no no doubt about it,” he said.

Regarding reports that despite Center guidelines, molnupiravir is still being prescribed by some physicians in private practice, Agarwal said it was very important that protocols be implemented at ground level.

“We have a working group and a joint follow-up group made up of technical experts. According to them, details of the drugs that need to be prescribed have been provided, webinars are being held to disseminate clinical management protocols, and we are asking everyone to follow them,” he said.

Asked if the third wave of Covid infections had already peaked, Agarwal said that although some geographical areas of the country have noted a plateau in cases to some extent and the rate of spread of the infection has also decreased in some areas, there are also areas where the infection has spread and the number of cases is increasing.

The overall picture has yet to emerge, the official said.

Agarwal also said there is clear evidence that the spread of infection and hospitalization are high among unvaccinated people and they have severe symptoms.

When asked if the whole of the nation’s capital had been vaccinated and then who were dying, he replied, “Delhi is an area where people from other states, including those who have not been vaccinated, Everyone who is eligible should get vaccinated.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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