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‘Coronavirus Pandemic In Its Endgame’, Says Union Health Minister, Experts Weigh In With Precautions

According to experts, the Health Minister is trying to give hope to people who are fed up with the pandemic, but at the same time, with cases slowly creeping up, COVID-19 protocols need to be followed and the vaccination drive needs to speed up

'Coronavirus Pandemic In Its Endgame', Says Union Health Minister, Experts Weigh In With Precautions
Highlights
  • An increase in number of cases is seen in the past couple of weeks: Expert
  • We all need to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour: Expert
  • There is a need to escalate vaccination to fight the pandemic: Expert

New Delhi: Giving hopes to people, the Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Sunday (March 7) said that the country can be optimistic as it is in the “endgame of the novel coronavirus pandemic” and urged people to trust the science, vaccines and ensure that their near and dear ones get vaccination on time in order to defeat the pandemic. Earlier, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had also said that the pandemic may be over soon. However, since the COVID-19 cases are rising in some states, can these positive statements from ministers increase the possibility of people who are already tired of the pandemic, become more complacent and irresponsible thinking that the pandemic is ending?

Also Read: India At Forefront In Fighting COVID-19, Stands Out In Terms Of Vaccine Policy: IMF’s Gita Gopinath

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has cautioned the government about not letting the people lower their guard against the disease. It said in a statement,

It is painful to note the discussion on endemic vs pandemic status of disease is echoing in the political corridors, however it ought to be substantiated by scientific evidence by the World Health Organisation or ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) only.

The IMA highlighted that various parts of the country have reported a surge of 35-40 per cent in the number of cases including the national capital. It has urged the citizens to stay vigilant about wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing.

While talking to NDTV about the Health Minister’s statement, Dr. Yatin Mehta, Chairman, Medanta Critical Care Institute said.

I would like to emphasise on the fact that our leaders are trying to be positive and give us hope. There is nothing wrong with that, but people should not take this as a signal for doing whatever one wants to. The danger is not over. We all have to continue taking the same precautions as people were taking before vaccination started. We have inoculated two crore people which is a good number, but it is still very less when compared to the total population.

Also Read: Indigenous COVID-19 Cocaxin Phase 2 Data Published In Lancet; Vaccine Safe, Induced High Neutralising Antibody

He further said that the next few months are very important in the fight against COVID-19 and people must act sensibly during this time. He said,

The incidence of cases has gone up a little bit in the last couple of weeks because people have started being complacent. We need to be sensible for the next few months. If we control this and the vaccination programme continues as it is and people continue taking precautions, then I think we should be alright in a few months.

Dr. Hemant Deshmukh, Dean of KEM Hospital, Mumbai, explained that the ‘Endgame’ or the exit strategy from the pandemic can only happen when the number of cases or the frequency of detection of positive cases is on the decreasing side. He said,

When I say that pandemic is getting over, this means that the deaths are almost coming to zero, we are on the verge of the entire nation getting vaccinated especially the population between the age group of 35 to 45 who are vulnerable due to co-morbidities like heart diseases, hypertension. I think the exit strategy will work only when an adequate mass of the population is vaccinated.

Commenting on the current speed of vaccination and the target of immunising 30 crore people in few months, Dr Mehta said,

In a month’s time, I suppose the vaccine should be easily available in the market and we should have new vaccines soon. So, I think the shortage of the vaccine will be over soon and I think we are doing good, but we need to escalate it. We need to make the process easier and not make it mandatory to go through the Co-WIN App. As senior citizens, particularly in the rural area, may find it difficult.

According to the Union Health Minister, the government has already involved private players in COVID-19 vaccination, and if hospitals want, they can conduct vaccination 24×7. Experts believe that this move will help in increasing the number of people vaccinated per day and thus make the target closer. They highlighted that with cases slowly creeping up, the government must continue taking measures to make vaccination more popular among people and recommended that people must continue following COVID-19 protocols.

Also Read: Health Ministry Tells States, Union Territories With Rising COVID Cases To ‘Test, Track And Treat’

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

24,06,78,961Cases
20,23,40,977Active
3,34,39,331Recovered
48,98,653Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,06,78,961 and 48,98,653 have died; 20,23,40,977 are active cases and 3,34,39,331 have recovered as on October 18, 2021 at 4:17 am.

India

3,40,81,315 13,596Cases
1,89,6946,152Active
3,34,39,331 19,582Recovered
4,52,290 166Deaths
In India, there are 3,40,81,315 confirmed cases including 4,52,290 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,89,694 and 3,34,39,331 have recovered as on October 18, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,91,697 1,715

32,230 994

64,19,678 2,680

1,39,789 29

Kerala

48,54,321 7,555

88,186 3,292

47,39,270 10,773

26,865 74

Karnataka

29,83,459 326

9,479 58

29,36,039 380

37,941 4

Tamil Nadu

26,87,092 1,218

14,814 208

26,36,379 1,411

35,899 15

Andhra Pradesh

20,60,472 432

6,034 159

20,40,131 586

14,307 5

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,028 9

119 10

16,87,011 19

22,898

West Bengal

15,80,530 624

7,421 24

15,54,132 634

18,977 14

Delhi

14,39,390 32

320 6

14,13,981 38

25,089

Odisha

10,35,077 443

4,542 68

10,22,250 508

8,285 3

Chhattisgarh

10,05,654 16

183 2

9,91,901 14

13,570

Rajasthan

9,54,390 2

42 2

9,45,394 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,290 10

207 6

8,15,997 16

10,086

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,684 5

84 12

7,82,077 17

10,523

Haryana

7,71,076 15

123 9

7,60,904 6

10,049

Bihar

7,26,026 5

48 4

7,16,317 1

9,661

Telangana

6,68,955 122

3,924 55

6,61,093 176

3,938 1

Assam

6,06,468 205

3,436 46

5,97,082 245

5,950 6

Punjab

6,02,035 27

227 8

5,85,264 16

16,544 3

Jharkhand

3,48,430 7

122 1

3,43,173 8

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,756 9

178 1

3,36,181 8

7,397

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,062 95

843 12

3,25,793 107

4,426

Himachal Pradesh

2,21,437 131

1,303 5

2,16,414 125

3,720 1

Goa

1,77,522 60

604 6

1,73,572 62

3,346 4

Puducherry

1,27,396 52

585 13

1,24,961 64

1,850 1

Manipur

1,22,737 104

1,422 0

1,19,418 102

1,897 2

Mizoram

1,12,848 249

11,633 1,143

1,00,829 1,389

386 3

Tripura

84,321 16

104 4

83,401 12

816

Meghalaya

82,953 55

845 32

80,673 86

1,435 1

Chandigarh

65,302 3

25 3

64,457 6

820

Arunachal Pradesh

54,987 7

140 30

54,567 37

280

Sikkim

31,749 4

174 8

31,184 12

391

Nagaland

31,611 40

248 12

30,689 28

674

Ladakh

20,878 2

36 10

20,634 12

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,676 1

4 1

10,668

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,641

9 0

7,503

129

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