As coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is infecting more and more people across the country, many people want to know why daily outbreaks are so rapid in India? Scientists have given three reasons for it.
One of the reasons for the spread of the infection is the emerging mutants – imported and overgrown. “A new double mutant has emerged in India and is reported in 15-20 per cent of cases analyzed from Maharashtra. If this percentage increases further, it would be a clear indication of its role in the Maharashtra surge, ”virologists Shahid Jameel told PTI news agency.
In India, variants first identified were found in the UK, South Africa and Brazil.
At the end of March, the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) announced that a new variation had been identified in samples taken of human saliva in Maharashtra, Delhi and Punjab.
The genome sequencing conducted by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG), a consortium of 10 laboratories in India, identified two important mutations in the variant dubbed “double mutant”.
Explaining that the UK variant is known to be about 50 percent more infectious, Jameel said one of the two mutations in the double mutant was also found in California, US, where it was associated with increased transmission.
Next comes lowering the protection of the people of India – something that the government has also highlighted and urged the people of the country to continue to follow Covid-appropriate behavior.
“Everything that opened up to pre-Covid levels and behavior that was no longer risk-free exposed the susceptible population in a big way,” says Jameel.
“The speed of spread in the second wave is twice as fast as in the first wave. Partly due to fluctuations and partial lowering of the guard,” explained another virologist T Jacob John, a professor at Tamil Nadu Christian Medical College (CMC).
Speaking about the vaccination campaign, Jameel said the government needs to speed it up. “For a variety of reasons, those qualified, including healthcare and frontline workers, were hesitant to get vaccines. The over 60s also showed little appetite although cases had begun to rise by early March. Now we are on a very fast rising curve with only 0.7 per cent of Indians having received both doses and only about 5 per cent having received a single dose. That’s too low to make an impact, ”says Jameel.
Apart from this, a recent study by the Institute of Integrative Genomics and Biology (IGIB) reported that 20% to 30% of those infected with Covid-19 lose immunity after six months. Health experts have also highlighted this as one of the reasons why people who have already recovered from Covid-19, catch the infection again.
According to scientists, including those from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) -Kanpur, the second continuous wave could peak by mid-April, after which the infections could see a steep decline by the end of May.
India recorded 161,736 fresh Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, Union health ministry data showed on Tuesday. With this, the infection count has crossed the 13.68 million mark. The country also recorded 879 related deaths in that period, which pushed the death toll to 171,058.
The situation in Maharashtra and Delhi is particularly bad – the national capital recorded 11,491 fresh outbreaks of infection on Monday, its highest ever day count. Four other states also reported their respective one-day spikes on Monday.
(With inputs from agencies)