India is currently experiencing an increase in the number of Covid cases and scientists warned on Friday (June 24) that a rise and fall in the number of cases is a frequent phenomenon when an infectious disease moves from a pandemic to an endemic phase. The scientists noted that the sudden increase in numbers is due to a lack of use of face protection, increased travel and social engagement, and low uptake of covid vaccines. Since June 10, there has been an increase in reported weekly cases in states such as Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Telangana, and Punjab, PTI reported.
According to Dr. Sanjay Rai, a leading epidemiologist at AIIMS, SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus that has undergone more than 1000 changes despite there being only five variant types.
He said, “India witnessed a second very devastating wave of Covid infections last year, which was very unfortunate. But it has led to the development of natural immunity at the community level against SARS-CoV-2. Worldwide evidence shows that natural infection provides better and longer-lasting protection against COVID-19. In addition, there has been high vaccination coverage. Therefore, a severe wave in the future is unlikely until a new mutant variant is able to invade existing natural immunity and cause severe disease.”
Another expert, Dr. Chandrakant Lahariya, said SARS-CoV-2 is still prevalent. Speaking to PTI, he said, “So, a rise and fall in the number of infections is very much expected from time to time because that is how infectious and respiratory diseases behave. That’s why every increase in cases is not a cause for concern or worry.”
He further said that most people in all age group categories are believed to have gained immunity after infection. Therefore, he said, people have developed a hybrid immunity that protects them from subsequent infections.
According to official sources, 51 districts in India, including 12 in Kerala, 7 in Mizoram, and 5 each in Maharashtra and Assam, report a weekly infection positivity rate of more than 10 percent.