COVID-19 variants, susceptible population, slack in following COVID norms behind second wave: Experts -

COVID-19 variants, susceptible population, slack in following COVID norms behind second wave: Experts

“Almost everything we do, whether it is rallies, melas, marriage, all this lead to transferring of infection from one person to another.

“Unless we act on each of these, work on understanding the virus and reducing its geographical area, building host immunity by speeding up vaccination and changing the environmental factors that facilitate faster spread, we can’t really expect that the wave will be controlled.

“Right now, it is surging ahead as a combination of all these may be at play,” he said.

Speaking in the same vein, epidemiologist Dr N K Arora said the upsurge is because of “4-5 factors acting simultaneously”.

He said all viral infections come in a wave, which is a natural phenomenon, and COVID-19 reached its crescendo in September last year. After ebbing, it is again seeing a crest.

He said the fear factor which was there in the initial six months of this pandemic has come down significantly as the economy has opened up, people have started moving out and have become less careful when it comes of COID-appropriate behaviour, he said.

Moreover, social gatherings have increased and people have also started going out on vacations.

“All this is linked to the decline in fear factor and the perception that it is a mild disease,” he said.

He also noted that wearing masks has drastically reduced.

Responding to a question on whether new variants of the coronavirus could be responsible for the surge, Arora said there are several aspects to the issue.

“If we look at variant isolation rate versus the number of cases coming up it looks like they might be contributing but not a significant proportion of this upsurge is because of the variants,” he told PTI.

He said the number of susceptible people in the community is still very high which is leading to this upsurge.

Prof Jayaprakash Muliyil, the former Principal, Christian Medical College, Vellore and the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Institute of Epidemiology, said a new susceptible pool has emerged because of people being a little less anxious about COVID.

Earlier, people were frightened, but now the same population is less worried.

On the role of variants, he said they could increase the attack rate, but ther has to be a susceptible population.

A new variant which completely ignores previous immunity acquired due to the infection is a very remote possibility and presently there is no evidence that it is operating, he added.

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