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Should we be worried as Covid-19 raises its ugly head again

Just as India was settling into a semblance of a routine life of pre-Covid times with schools, colleges and offices opening, disconcerting news reports have started coming in from around the world of another surge of the deadly disease.

From China to the US and Europe, increasing cases of Covid-19 remind of a havoc the country witnessed during the first and second wave of the pandemic as more than five lakh people have succumbed to the viral infection.

Let’s take a look at the countries that are seeing a surge in Covid numbers and if it can be a cause of concern for India:

The countries seeing a surge in Covid cases
China: New Covid-19 cases more than doubled on Tuesdayfrom the previous day as the country faces by far its biggest outbreak since the early days of the pandemic.

The National Health Commission said 3,507 new locally spread cases had been identified in the latest 24-hour period, up from 1,337 a day earlier.

Also read: China locks down over 17.5 million people in business center of Shenzhen to fight Covid-19 surge

A fast-spreading variant known as “stealth omicron” is testing China’s zero-tolerance strategy, which had kept the virus at bay since the deadly initial outbreak in the city of Wuhan in early 2020. While the numbers are low compared to elsewhere in the world, the more than 10,000 cases China recorded in the first two weeks of March far exceed previous flare-ups.

Germany: The European country recorded 198,888 new infections on Tuesday, 42,000 higher than a week ago, according to a Reuters report.

The number of cases are increasing right ahead of the government’s decision to ease the restrictions in place.

The government wants to reduce restrictions around Germany as the existing rules expire on Saturday.
Other European countries: According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy were among the countries seeing an increase in numbers in the past week.

In the Netherlands, cases are up from a recent low of 1,956 cases per million people on 27 February to 3,955 cases per million people on 12 March.

According to The Guardian, 444,201 positive cases have been recorded in the UK in the past week – an increase of 48.1 per cent. The number of patients admitted to hospital has also risen steeply to 10,576 in England as of 8am on 14 March – 19 per cent up on the previous week.

According to a CNN report, daily cases are rising in more than half of the European Union countries.

In Finland, new cases have jumped by 84 per cent in its weekly case total to nearly 62,500 weekly cases. In Switzerland too, weekly cases have risen by 45 percent to 182,190.

The US: According to NBC News, the US numbers are in contrast with other countries as daily cases, hospitalisations and deaths have continued to decline.

However, a report by Bloomberg suggests an impending Covid boom in the coming weeks.

A wastewater network that monitors for Covid-19 trends is warning that cases are once again rising in many parts of the US, according to an analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data by Bloomberg.

Even though reported cases have remained low, more than a third of the CDC’s wastewater sample sites across the US showed rising Covid-19 trends in the period ending March 1 to March 10.

What does it mean for India
According to a report by News18, the situation varies from country to country.

The reasons for the spike in cases are mostly the delayed arrival of Omicron, spread of Omicron’s sister variant BA.2 combined with the aggressive lifting of Covid restrictions, complacency and pandemic fatigue.

The fresh surge may not impact India, thanks to the strong immunity gained during the second wave.

However, experts warn caution and continuous monitoring of local level epidemiology in India apart from continuous genomic sequencing to identify any new variants of interest and concerns.

The Indian population has acquired a stronger immunity against the disease due to a strong Delta wave and high coverage of vaccines.

According to Dr K Srinath Reddy, a public health expert and president of Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), the Delta wave gave the Indian population “a more broadband immunity”.

“The Delta wave gave us more broadband immunity than the vaccines which are directed only against the spike proteins,” Dr Reddy said, while adding that now, if a new variant emerges and is mild (chances of which are higher), it won’t be serious for India. Firstpost

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