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COVID-19 Appropriate Behaviour Will Not Let Any Variant Spread: AIIMS Chief On Current Surge And New Strain

The surge in the country is due to new strains and laxity among people in adopting COVID norms and the situation is exactly like the one in the UK when the virus underwent a mutation around Christmas, said Dr Randeep Guleria, Chief of Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences

COVID-19 Appropriate Behaviour Will Not Let Any Variant Spread: AIIMS Chief On Current Surge And New Strain
Highlights
  • Dr Guleria said that any laxity at this stage will cost us heavily
  • He emphasised on the need of ramping up immunisation
  • Serum Institute, Bharat Biotech looking at doses for children: Dr Guleria

New Delhi: From the past two months, the country has been continuously reporting an uptick in the number of daily cases of COVID-19. Researchers call this as the second wave of the pandemic in the country. As the country continues to scramble to contain the increasing transmission of the infection, several new and more contagious variants are coming up in various parts of the country. Recently, the Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh highlighted that out of 401 samples analysed for mutations, 81 per cent have shown the variant first noticed in the United Kingdom which is believed to affect young people more. NDTV spoke with Dr Randeep Guleria, Chief of Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences about the situation. Dr Guleria stressed that the situation is exactly like the one in the United Kingdom when the virus underwent a mutation around Christmas and can be controlled by adhering to COVID appropriate behaviour.

Also Read: One COVID-19 Patient Can Infect 400 People: Maharashtra Health Official

According to Dr Guleria, it is likely that there is a variant that is causing the virus to be more infectious, and this is what needs to be backed by the data. He said,

While the high numbers need to be linked to the epidemiological data. The fact that the data is not there does not mean it is not happening. It’s likely that there is a variant in the country that is causing the virus to be more infectious. What is important to understand is that irrespective of whether it is an older variant or some new one, we need to have more data first to see the epidemiological link or the pattern between various variants and the surge in the number of cases. The same thing happened in the UK as well. There was some slowing down of the virus transmission in September last year and then around Christmas, they saw a huge surge. We are seeing that now around Holi because of the fact that same sort of situation is repeating itself.

However, the central government has so far maintained that there is no evidence that the surge is linked to a mutation of the coronavirus.

Also Read: Two Positive Tests At Interval Of 102 Days With One -Ve Defined As SARS-CoV-2 Re-Infection: ICMR Study

We Are Allowing The Virus To Spread In Our Community: Dr Randeep Guleria

Dr Guleria emphasised on the fact that people are becoming complacent and are not adhering to COVID appropriate behaviour like wearing a face mask, maintaining physical distancing, cleaning hands frequently among others. He said that laxity among people is the major reason behind the surge across the country. Dr Guleria said,

It is logically likely that if there is a certain surge in cases, there is something which is happening with the virus because of which it is becoming more infectious. Having said that, it is important to remember that COVID-19 appropriate behaviour will take care of any variant. We would have done everything required even if there was a new variant six months ago. But somehow, we have forgotten all of that which has led to this huge surge in the number of cases. Also, the philosophy of testing, tracking and isolating has become a little lax. This is also leading to infection in a large number of people in various states in our country. We are allowing the virus to spread in our community.

Vaccination- An Important Weapon In The Fight Against The Pandemic

Dr. Guleria, who is also a principal member of the Central Government’s COVID Task Force, said that it is important to get more vaccines in the market as that would help in vaccinating a larger number of people and thus achieving some degree of immunity as far as the population is concerned. However, he highlighted that having enough people to come forward and get themselves vaccinated is still a challenge. He said,

Currently, the issue is not that we are running out of doses. The issue is that at a large number of vaccination sites, people are not coming, and we are not able to fill that gap. So, we need to work on a strategy so that we can have enough vaccination being done and ramp it up to 8-10 million a day because that is what we need to do if we really wish to achieve our targets. We need to reach out to the people with the vaccine.

Talking about the need for developing a vaccine that is efficient in protecting children from the virus, Dr Guleria said that while companies like Pfizer are already working on vaccines demonstrating 100 per cent efficacy in participants aged 12-15 years, in India, both Serum Institute of India that has been manufacturing Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech which has developed Covaxin in collaboration with ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) are looking at a dose that would be appropriate for children. Dr. Guleria said,

If we really have to control the pandemic and get the children back to school and be comfortable with that, we will have to look at a vaccine that is there for children. I am aware that both vaccines which are being used in India are doing studies on safety and doses for children. You can’t say, children are little adults, they are different in terms of both the dose that is required and the side effects that can happen because of the vaccine. So, we need more data.

Also Read: WHO Report Says Coronavirus Likely Spread To People From An Animal And Not Labs, Calls For Further Studies

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

24,50,12,529Cases
20,64,25,824Active
3,36,14,434Recovered
49,72,271Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,50,12,529 and 49,72,271 have died; 20,64,25,824 are active cases and 3,36,14,434 have recovered as on October 28, 2021 at 4:00 am.

India

3,42,31,809 16,156Cases
1,60,9891,672Active
3,36,14,434 17,095Recovered
4,56,386 733Deaths
In India, there are 3,42,31,809 confirmed cases including 4,56,386 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,60,989 and 3,36,14,434 have recovered as on October 28, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,06,536 1,485

23,096 3,500

64,43,342 4,947

1,40,098 38

Kerala

49,38,603 9,445

77,158 2,100

48,31,468 6,723

29,977 622

Karnataka

29,86,835 282

8,459 80

29,40,339 349

38,037 13

Tamil Nadu

26,98,493 1,075

12,288 252

26,50,145 1,315

36,060 12

Andhra Pradesh

20,64,854 567

4,777 122

20,45,713 437

14,364 8

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,114 13

100 6

16,87,115 7

22,899

West Bengal

15,89,042 976

7,973 124

15,61,973 837

19,096 15

Delhi

14,39,709 38

348 25

14,14,270 13

25,091

Odisha

10,39,818 549

4,392 213

10,27,108 334

8,318 2

Chhattisgarh

10,05,926 28

263 14

9,92,088 12

13,575 2

Rajasthan

9,54,411 4

20 0

9,45,437 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,481 17

173 2

8,16,220 15

10,088

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,804 20

108 9

7,82,172 10

10,524 1

Haryana

7,71,204 15

133 5

7,61,022 10

10,049

Bihar

7,26,073 5

41 1

7,16,371 4

9,661

Telangana

6,70,829 186

4,164 63

6,62,714 122

3,951 1

Assam

6,09,506 244

3,838 153

5,99,681 391

5,987 6

Punjab

6,02,289 38

246 20

5,85,487 16

16,556 2

Jharkhand

3,48,705 28

160 30

3,43,408 56

5,137 2

Uttarakhand

3,43,861 17

150 6

3,36,312 23

7,399

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,865 70

838 16

3,26,596 86

4,431

Himachal Pradesh

2,23,406 261

1,972 211

2,17,693 48

3,741 2

Goa

1,77,969 23

454 29

1,74,152 51

3,363 1

Puducherry

1,27,846 40

443 10

1,25,546 50

1,857

Manipur

1,23,473 70

844 29

1,20,712 97

1,917 2

Mizoram

1,19,496 547

7,320 446

1,11,752 991

424 2

Tripura

84,438 15

123 1

83,499 14

816

Meghalaya

83,466 51

507 22

81,511 71

1,448 2

Chandigarh

65,331 5

29 2

64,482 3

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,120 6

115 22

54,725 28

280

Sikkim

31,925 13

177 1

31,353 12

395

Nagaland

31,759 12

222 3

30,856 15

681

Ladakh

20,925 8

47 6

20,670 2

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,682 1

6 0

10,672 1

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,650 2

5 1

7,516 1

129

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