The fears expressed earlier regarding the spread of Covid19 in India for the last 3-4 weeks were finally confirmed today in the press release issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
Some of the salient points mentioned in the press release today:
1. INSACOG has detected 771 variants of concerns (VOCs) in a total of 10787 positive samples sequenced. The distributions are as follows :
UK (B.1.1.7) variant – 736.
South African (B.1.351) variant – 34
Brazilian (P.1) variant – 1
2. These variants of concerns, which are much more infectious (2-6 times than the original Wuhan strain) are now circulating in 18 states of India.
3. Additionally, new local variants of concerns specific to India have been detected. Sequencing has found that the fraction of samples with the E484Q and L452R mutations is much higher now.
4. The N440K variant that is associated with immune escape has been found in 6% samples from Kerala, 33% of samples from Andhra Pradesh, and 51% samples from Telangana.
5. All the above-mutated strains circulating in India now make the virus much more dangerous. The mutations, in addition to significantly increased transmissibility, help the virus escape our immune system, meaning that many who have been previously infected or vaccinated “might” get re-infected.
6. Given that these dangerous strains are now already circulating in 18 states, it is just a matter of time before the Covid19 cases might start to increase in all states of India. Brazil has borne the brunt of the P1 strain where almost all its hospitals and health system have now collapsed, with more than 3,200 deaths every single day.
Given that 7% of the strains circulating in the country are variants of concern (771 out of 10,787), it should wake us up. The UK variant and other VOCs ripped apart countries after countries, pushing them into larger and dangerous consecutive waves of infections and deaths. While we may again see lesser deaths due to our demographics, increased cases of Covid19 will make things worse. We are already close to 50,000 new cases each day.
Please take the precautions below;
- Do not let your guard down.
- Avoid crowded places.
- Avoid unnecessary travel.
- Keep wearing your mask in public places.