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One Year Of Fight Against Coronavirus, Has India Passed Its Peak? What To Expect Now, Dr Randeep Guleria Explains

India’s fight against coronavirus continues, as the country crossed the one year mark of the first COVID-19 case being reported on January 30 last year, NDTV speaks to AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria to understand what is causing the significant drop in COVID-19 cases in India in the last few days and the road ahead

One Year Of Fight Against Coronavirus, Has India Passed Its Peak? What To Expect Now, Dr Randeep Guleria Explains
Highlights
  • On Feb 2, India reported 8,635 fresh coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours
  • As per the ministry, India recorded the lowest single-day rise in 8 months
  • Dr Guleria says India should maintain this good position for some time

New Delhi: One year and counting. India’s fight against novel coronavirus which has infected over 1.07 crore people since the first case was reported on January 30, 2019. The country is still the second worst hit country in the world after the United States of America in terms of total number of COVID-19 cases. But there is a downward trend.

With 8,635 fresh coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, India recorded the lowest single-day rise in its tally in nearly eight months, as per the government data from February 2. In a boost to the fight against the pandemic, the country has been vaccinating its citizens and according to health ministry more than 39 lakh have been vaccinated since the government began the world’s largest inoculation drive on January 16. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his radio address – “Mann Ki Baat” claimed India is inoculating its citizens much faster than any other nation in the world.

As we move ahead in this fight, NDTV speaks TO AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria to know if India has passed its coronavirus peak and what can we expect as we go forward.

Also Read: Vaccine Explainer: How Does Immunisation Protect Against A Disease?

NDTV: One year of fight against COVID, where does India stand?

Dr Randeep Guleria: The year gone by has its ups and downs and if we look back we can see we have faced lot of challenges, we had huge number of cases, there was a time when our predictions were worse than this. But what we have learned in the last one year is that we are a very resilient country, the way we all have come together, whether it is in respect of shortage of PPE (Personal Protective Equipments), concerns about ventilators, stretched healthcare system, but the point is that we did manage to cope up with the pandemic. There were success stories but there was also challenges, but when I look back, I also feel a little bit of satisfaction because we are certainly at a better position now than many countries in the world. However, the challenge ahead for us is how do we sustain this good position as we move ahead in this fight against coronavirus. At the same time, we also need to think of how do we take the learnings, challenges and gains from the current pandemic ahead for future so the next time we are much better prepared.

Also Read: Coronavirus Explainer: Who Should Not Get Vaccinated? What Are The Possible Adverse Reactions And Other Questions Answered

NDTV: Why has there been a sudden sharp decline in the number of coronavirus cases in India?

Dr Randeep Guleria: There are multiple factors for this, one reason could be and we need to see sero-surveillance data for it that areas where there were high chance of the infection or virus spreading, possibly due to crowding or people living very close to each other, there we may have already achieved the immunity as more and more people got infected. Secondly, in cities and rural areas, where people live at a distance, as compared to urban villages, there is a possibility that the virus chain was broken. Thirdly, we are a country of younger population, so we get milder disease and many individuals here may have got a milder disease and recovered. Also we may have some inherent immunity because of the current exposures and our immune response may be better. This has been seen not only in India but many countries like south-east Asia, they have done better than their western counterparts like Europe or USA.

But still, we need to be very cautious, we need to look at Brazil, the people there felt they have come out of the pandemic, they felt they have achieved herd immunity and their life came back to normal and then they had a new variant, which was more infectious. It can also be that the immunity which individuals had because of infection six months ago waned and that led to the surge and now they are seeing a spike once again. So, even if our numbers are down at the moment, we need to be very very vigilant as we move ahead as things can change as we have seen in other countries like the UK and South Africa.

So, good surveillance, good observation and COVID appropriate behaviour and at the same time trying to vaccinate as many people as possible and as early, I think, should be the way forward for India.

NDTV: Hailed for its COVID Fight, why is Kerala now logging highest daily cases?

Dr Randeep Guleria: It is a possibility there that now the state is able to test more and more people and maybe the spread of disease is in those parts now where it was not earlier. Secondly, as we unlock more and more things, open of travel, and festivals being celebrated, the state is seeing a resurgence of cases as there might be a lot of susceptible population. Though Kerala has a good healthcare system but we need to understand that bringing coronavirus cases down also involves community participation, maybe the surge in number is the reason that people there have let their guard down.

Also Read: Vaccine Hesitancy: What It Means And How We Can Tackle It, Experts Explain

NDTV: Serum Institute of India’s NOVAVAX vaccine will be soon in India? How will it impact India’s vaccination drive?

Dr Randeep Guleria: We need as many vaccines for coronavirus as we can get for a simple reason that the number of population we need to inoculate is very big. However, the challenge I see is that now to get any new vaccine, doing the vaccine trial will be very challenging. Because when we didn’t have a vaccine, we could do a phase three study where you had one arm where you could do a vaccine and other arm was a placebo arm where you did not give the vaccine. Now, when we have vaccines which have been given emergency usage authorisation, it will be unethical to use a placebo arm. I think, it will be worthwhile now to have a non-inferiority trial where you give the current available vaccine to one arm and compare it with the new vaccine. Or we need to develop the surrogates of the efficacy of the vaccines, in which we see how tighter is the neutralising antibodies or the cell immunity and based on that infer that this vaccine will going to be effective without doing the traditional phase three study. So, I think all this will be a very challenging task.

NDTV: Should the norms continue to get relaxed as we move ahead in our fight against coronavirus?

Dr Randeep Guleria: I think, it is too early to be opening up this quickly. We need to realise that we haven’t really gotten over with the pandemic, we are in a good position, but we must maintain this good position for few more weeks, till we have sufficient number of people vaccinated and we are able to say comfortably that variant strains that we are seeing in different parts of the world is not going to affect us in a big manner. If we open up and we have a situation that has happened in Brazil, we will suddenly see a huge spike.

Also Read: Coronavirus Explainer: What Are Adverse Events Post COVID-19 Immunisation

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

26,78,24,983Cases
22,84,48,447Active
3,40,97,388Recovered
52,79,148Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 196 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 26,78,24,983 and 52,79,148 have died; 22,84,48,447 are active cases and 3,40,97,388 have recovered as on December 9, 2021 at 3:47 am.

India

3,46,66,241 9,419Cases
94,742 1,009Active
3,40,97,388 8,251Recovered
4,74,111 159Deaths
In India, there are 3,46,66,241 confirmed cases including 4,74,111 deaths. The number of active cases is 94,742 and 3,40,97,388 have recovered as on December 9, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,40,888 893

9,964 157

64,89,720 1,040

1,41,204 10

Kerala

51,78,892 5,038

41,615 887

50,95,263 4,039

42,014 112

Karnataka

29,99,098 399

7,284 155

29,53,565 238

38,249 6

Tamil Nadu

27,32,648 703

7,946 36

26,88,142 728

36,560 11

Andhra Pradesh

20,74,217 181

2,011 3

20,57,749 176

14,457 2

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,502 10

139 7

16,87,452 3

22,911

West Bengal

16,20,803 574

7,576 0

15,93,659 568

19,568 6

Delhi

14,41,514 65

404 28

14,16,010 36

25,100 1

Odisha

10,50,760 255

1,931 11

10,40,403 264

8,426 2

Chhattisgarh

10,07,075 37

341 9

9,93,140 27

13,594 1

Rajasthan

9,54,984 40

236 16

9,45,792 24

8,956

Gujarat

8,27,873 67

417 45

8,17,361 22

10,095

Madhya Pradesh

7,93,288 14

140 1

7,82,619 13

10,529

Haryana

7,71,904 29

223 15

7,61,626 14

10,055

Bihar

7,26,259 9

36 6

7,14,133 3

12,090

Telangana

6,77,546 205

3,871 19

6,69,673 185

4,002 1

Assam

6,18,042 134

2,541 24

6,09,374 158

6,127

Punjab

6,03,578 22

350 0

5,86,614 20

16,614 2

Jharkhand

3,49,383 16

129 7

3,44,113 23

5,141

Uttarakhand

3,44,402 17

192 3

3,36,799 14

7,411

Jammu And Kashmir

3,38,198 151

1,639 38

3,32,070 111

4,489 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,27,753 69

722 14

2,23,174 81

3,857 2

Goa

1,79,307 65

441 37

1,75,478 28

3,388

Mizoram

1,37,377 320

3,049 10

1,33,819 309

509 1

Puducherry

1,29,128 23

230 1

1,27,022 22

1,876

Manipur

1,25,429 23

325 5

1,23,119 28

1,985

Tripura

84,888 14

94 11

83,968 3

826

Meghalaya

84,631 12

240 11

82,916 23

1,475

Chandigarh

65,515 7

67 2

64,628 5

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,298 3

29 2

54,989 5

280

Sikkim

32,390 8

200 2

31,785 6

405

Nagaland

32,143 1

116 2

31,328 3

699

Ladakh

21,749 14

230 17

21,304 31

215

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,683

0 0

10,679

4

Lakshadweep

10,405

11 0

10,343

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,691 1

3 0

7,559 1

129

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