Chief scientist of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Soumya Swaminathan said on Wednesday that India might be entering the endemic stage of the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19). Dr Soumya is one of the WHO’s top doctors and she said this particular stage of endemic will be marked by low or moderate levels of transmission, with no peak or exponential growth as witnessed during the second wave that had wreaked havoc in the country.
In the interview, she said, “We may be entering some kind of stage of endemicity where there is low-level transmission or moderate level transmission going on but we are not seeing the kinds of exponential growth and peaks that we saw a few months ago.”
As per the definition of the endemic given by the United State’s Centre for Disease Control, an endemic is “the constant presence and/or usual prevalence of a disease or infectious agent in a population within a geographic area.”
On the topic of clearance to Covaxin by the WHO, she said she is fairly confident that the WHO’s technical group will be satisfied to give Covaxin clearance to be one of its authorised vaccines and that could happen by mid-September.
Dr Swaminathan also pointed out the fact that India is a big country and because of the diverse population and immunity status in various parts of India, it was quite likely that the situation might continue like this with “ups and downs in different parts of the country”.
Dr Swaminathan added that cases might increase in places where the population is more susceptible. “So those groups who were perhaps less affected by first and second waves or those areas with low levels of vaccine coverage could see peaks and troughs for the next several months,” she said.
She also said that it is still a possibility that children might get affected and transmit the virus, but most of the time they have mild infections only and it is a good step to be preparing hospitals for paediatric admissions.
Recently,an IIT Kanpur research concluded that chances for third-wave are minimal in North India especially Delhi, UP and Bihar as they’ve had severe 2nd waves and the vaccination rate is also high but south and northeast India still under threat.