Sunday, September 19, 2021

COVID-19 may be becoming Endemic in India, says WHO Chief Scientist

Chief Scientist of the World Health Organisation Dr Soumya Swaminathan has said that COVID-19 in India may be entering some kind of stage of endemicity where there is a low or moderate level of transmission going on. 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 of Indian Made Covid Vaccine Candidate Covaxin, she said 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 with private media, Ms Swaminathan said given the size of India and the 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. She said by the end of 2022 the world would be in a position to have achieved vaccine coverage of 70 percent, and then countries can get back to normal.

On the prevalence of Covid among children, Ms Swaminathan said parents need not panic as children luckily have very mild illnesses most of the time, even if they get infected. But she said preparing hospitals for pediatric admissions, pediatric 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 added.

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