Covid in India maybe entering stage of moderate transmission: WHO scientist
COVID-19 in India may be entering some kind of stage of endemicity where there is low or moderate level of transmission going on, Chief Scientist of the World Health Organisation Dr Soumya Swaminathan said.
The endemic stage is when a population learns to live with a virus. It's very different from the epidemic stage when the virus overwhelms a population.
On clearance to Covaxin, she said she is fairly confident that the WHO's technical group will be satisfied to give Covaxin clearance to be one of its authorised vaccines and that could happen by mid-September.
In an interview to journalist Karan Thapar for news website The Wire, Swaminathan said given the size of India and heterogeneity of population and immunity status in different parts of the country, it is "very very feasible" that the situation may continue like this with ups and downs in various parts of the nation.
"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," Swaminathan said.
"As far as India is concerned that seems to be what is happening and because of size of India and heterogeneity of population and immunity status in different parts of country in different pockets, it is very very feasible that the situation may continue like this with ups and downs in different parts of the country, particularly where there are more susceptible population, so those groups who were perhaps less affected by first and second waves or those areas with low levels of vaccine coverage we could see peaks and troughs for the next several months," she said.
She said she hopes that by the end of 2022 "we would be in that position that we have achieved vaccine coverage, say 70 per cent, and then countries can get back to normal".
On prevalence of Covid among children, Swaminathan said parents need not panic.
"We can take from the sero survey and what we learnt from other countries also that while it is possible that children could get infected and transmit, children luckily have very mild illness most of the time and there is a small percentage that gets sick and get inflammatory complications and few will die but much much less than the adult population...But it is good to prepare... preparing hospitals for paediatric admissions, paediatric intensive care is going to serve our health system in many ways for other illnesses children have but we should not panic about thousands of children crowding into ICUs," she said.
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