In the series Sansad TV Perspective, we bring you an analysis of the discussion featured on the insightful programme ‘Perspective’ on Sansad TV, on various important topics affecting India and also the world. This analysis will help you immensely for the IAS exam, especially the mains exam, where a well-rounded understanding of topics is a prerequisite for writing answers that fetch good marks.
In this article, we feature the discussion on the topic: ‘Rising Covid Cases’.
Anchor: Kriti Mishra
- Dr. N. K Arora, Chairman, National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization
- Dr. K Madan Gopal, Senior Consultant, Health, NITI Aayog,
- Prof. N. K Ganguly, Former DG, Indian Council of Medical Research
Context: Increase in the number of Covid-19 cases.
Highlights of the discussion:
- Details about the increasing cases
- India’s performance
- Way Ahead
- According to the Union health ministry data, the active caseload of Covid-19 crossed the 10,000 mark, indicating a continued uptick in infections.
- Six more Covid-related deaths have been reported with a total death toll of 5,30,837.
- Between 19 March to 25 March, India registered 8781 fresh cases of the virus. It is up by 78% from the preceding week.
- Covid infections have been rising in the country for the past six weeks.
- While the Covid case count rose in most states, the rise was the sharpest in Haryana, Delhi, UP, Gujarat, Himachal, and Goa (among states reporting at least 100 cases).
- Amid the rising cases of Covid-19 and influenza, country-wide mock drills will be conducted on the 10th and 11th of April 2023. The Union Health Ministry and the Indian Council of Medical Research have issued a joint advisory that all public and private health facilities in the country should take part in the exercise.
- The mock drill will assess the availability of hospital beds, medical equipment, medical oxygen, and medicines.
- Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi chaired the high-level meeting to assess the Covid-19 and influenza situation in the country. He assessed the preparedness of health infrastructure and logistics, the status of the vaccination campaign, the emergence of new variants of Covid-19 and influenza, and their implications for the country.
Details about the rising caseload:
- A rapidly proliferating lineage of the Omicron virus called XBB.1.16 is believed to be behind the recent spike in Covid-19 cases.
- In March 2023, XBB.1.16 has been found in nearly a third of all the sequenced genomes.
- It appears that the virus is quite infectious and can infect even those who are previously immunized.
- It should be noted that, despite a mild increase, there is no increase in the proportion of severe cases or the number of associated deaths.
- The cause of concern is that the total number of testing has gone down.
- Moreover, the strain of the virus has now spread to seven or eight states. This indicates that it is not a localized outbreak.
- Notably, respiratory infections and influenza are seasonal in northern India and a similar trend was observed in 2022.
- The daily positivity rate was recorded at 1.46% while the weekly positivity rate was pegged at 1.08%.
- A test positivity rate below 5% is considered to be within the manageable limit and thus there is no major threat.
- Many countries like the U.K., France, China, Russia, and South Korea are also witnessing a surge in the number of cases.
- It is highlighted by the experts that as the epidemic progresses, and moves towards endemicity, such types of features are visible.
- A good sign is that for the last 17 months, there has been no major change in the variant and all the existing variants are sub-lineage of the Omicron variant.
Also read: H3N2 Influenza
- The vaccination rates have declined.
- There is an increase in the testing positivity rate. In almost 90 districts, the testing positivity rate is more than 5% and some districts even have 30% as the testing positivity.
- India’s experience in dealing with covid cases was appreciable. It took proactive and predictive steps.
- The vaccine hesitancy and reluctance were addressed by awareness drives.
- India’s INSACOG is working meticulously and tracking each and every variant across the world. For instance, in 2022, over 350 variants of Omicron were identified in the country.
- Every district had a surveillance team or committee.
- The citizens also showed a positive attitude in adopting Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) and taking vaccination doses.
- Every stakeholder including the citizens should adopt the basic steps of maintaining Covid appropriate behaviour, wearing masks, practising social distancing if there are symptoms of the disease, and avoiding crowded spaces.
- It is important to remain watchful about the increasing number of cases and endorse the strategy of mock drills.
- The vaccination should be increased as yearly vaccination is beneficial, specifically for vulnerable groups like people aged above 60, and persons with comorbidities. Even those who have received 2 or 3 vaccination shots can get a booster dose.
- The districts that are not witnessing a surge in cases need to be prepared and steps for early detection of infection should be taken.
- Another issue is that it is occurring with the spread of the influenza virus.
- Some strains transcend international boundaries and have the potential to become pandemic. Thus, people travelling from foreign countries should be adequately tested.
- It is important to monitor mutation as some might become pernicious.
- Vaccine complacency should be addressed and there should be an increase in vaccination coverage for the following segments of the population:
- People above the age of 60 years, as they are highly vulnerable to the virus.
- Individuals having comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, lung disorder, kidney disorder, etc.
- Those who are on cancer medication, immunosuppressants, or any kind of steroids.
Read all the previous Sansad TV Perspective articles in the link.
Sansad TV Perspective: Rising Covid Cases:- Download PDF Here
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