The country is witnessing a surge in Covid-19 cases, across all states. According to the data updated by the Union Health Ministry on Thursday, India recorded a single-day rise of 10,158 coronavirus cases, the highest in nearly eight months. The number of active cases has increased to 44,998, constituting 0.10 per cent of the total infections.
Amid the surge, sources close to the government told PTI that the new Covid cases will keep rising for the next 10-12 days but will start subsiding soon after that. They added that in India, Covid is moving towards the endemic stage. But, what does it mean? We reached out to experts to understand better.
Dr Vijay Kumar Gurjar, Senior Consultant and Head of the Department of Geriatric Medicine, Primus Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi said that when Healthy Ministry sources refer to covid-19 being in the endemic stage, it means that the virus has become a part of the population’s regular disease cycle, much like the flu. “It is no longer considered a pandemic but rather a common occurrence that people will encounter from time to time. This also suggests that people may have to learn to live with the virus in the long term, and measures will have to be put in place to keep the virus under control while allowing daily life to continue,” he added.
Agreeing, Dr Sandeep Bhatnagar, Director, Internal Medicine, Paras Hospital, Udaipur said that this also means that the virus is present at a relatively stable level within a specific geographic area or population. “In other words, the virus is no longer spreading rapidly and uncontrollably, and people have developed some level of immunity to the virus through vaccination or prior exposure. This does not mean that the virus is no longer a threat, but rather that it has become a more manageable public health issue,” he explained.
Government sources also highlighted that even though Covid-19 cases are increasing, hospitalisation is low and it is expected to remain low. “The number of hospitalisations though is minimal and is anticipated to stay low, despite the fact that Covid-19 cases are everyday rising,” Dr Piyush Mishra, District Immunisation Officer, North East Delhi said. The expert added that the XBB.1.16 subvariant of Omricon, which is driving the latest surge, is so far the most contagious strain of the virus. It can infect both fully vaccinated and those who have recovered from Covid recently.
As such, “A high temperature, headache, sore throat, persistent coughing, a sense of exhaustion, and body pains are a few of the symptoms that people should watch out for and recognise at an early stage. People with diabities, heart disease, kidney disease, asthma, and other illnesses need to take extra care of themselves, along with children, pregnant women and the elderly who also need to be given special attention. Wear a mask, stay away from crowds, and frequently wash your face,” Dr Mishra said.