- Not using the mask is the number one culprit: Dr T Jacob John
- The 'endemic phase' is our present as well as future: Virologist Jacob John
- “During endemic phase we must not expect a continuous decline in numbers”
New Delhi: Eminent virologist and former Christian Medical College (CMC) Vellore professor Dr T Jacob John on Tuesday (April 26) said that the probability of a fourth COVID-19 wave in India is “extremely low”. On being asked about why some of the states are reporting a surge in COVID-19 cases, the virologist said that Delhi and Haryana had minor increases in COVID numbers over the last two to three weeks but the increase was not being sustained. To his knowledge, he said, no state was reporting a surge in the COVID-19 cases.
“To my knowledge, no state is reporting a surge in COVID-19 cases. India remains with low and relatively steady numbers throughout March and April so far,” Dr John said.
Delhi and Haryana had minor increases in the last two to three weeks but the increase is not being sustained. One thousand cases in Delhi is equal to just 5 per lakh population. During the “endemic” phase which is applicable to India and also every state, we must not expect a continuous decline in numbers at all. Continuous falls cannot occur because the end of such a graph is zero, he added.
The virologist reiterated that the possibility of a fourth wave is extremely low.
If a fourth wave comes it will be a total surprise to me. Therefore I cannot guess anything about it. The probability of a fourth wave is extremely low. Our best defence against the ill effects of a wave is very high coverage of vaccination. Full vaccination means two doses plus a precautionary dose at least 6 months later. The official version of two doses as full vaccination is unscientific, Dr John said.
The current population-based vaccination coverage is 75 per cent for one dose and 65 per cent for two doses.
On being asked about what should be done to control this surge, the virologist said:
Not using the mask is the number one culprit. I am disappointed that experts and policy leaders have not been teaching people the immense value of wearing a mask when interacting with people.
When asked if schools would be shut down as many states showed children testing COVID-19 positive.
Not at all. Schools should remain open. During the ‘endemic phase’ which is our present as well as future, we will find an occasional case which should be dealt with in a case by case manner, Dr John said.
So is there a new variant of the coronavirus? To this, the virologist responded in the negative.
Wherever there were ups, there have been downs also. The rises are not sustained at all. So I don’t think any new variant is involved. However, variant screening must be sustained so that the virus does not surprise us again, he noted.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that 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 the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.[corona_data_new]