‘Every crack will be used by the virus to spread’

‘Who are the people who are dying?’
‘What is their profile?’
‘We need to know these things.’
‘We do not take health issues seriously.’

COVID-19 cases are rising again in India; the daily positivity rate is at 2.73 per cent, and several states are reporting fresh infections.

Dr T Jacob John, the renowned virologist and former professor at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, tells Ruchika Chitravanshi/Business Standard the country should promote booster doses and collect data on rising infections.

Is the recent rise in COVID-19 cases due to waning immunity?

We need data on people who are getting the disease and their immunity level. There is no advantage in saying that immunity is waning.

People who did not have the booster dose will have a waning immunity level.

Our track record on booster (shots of vaccine) is pathetic. This rise may even be a natural phenomenon of endemic prevalence of Omicron (variant of the virus that causes COVID-19).

We are adding a new susceptible population everyday; who have not been vaccinated.

Our overall vaccine coverage is just 70-72 per cent. We do not immunise children who can get the virus and pass it on.

The coverage of the booster is even less. We have not made use of the available resources.

Every crack will be used by the virus to spread.

How do you see this trend developing?

Increasing numbers are for real. They are slowly and steadily rising, so are active cases which mean the source of infection has also gone up.

We can expect this increase for some more time.

Since February 2022, infection has been endemic.

If the environment was ripe enough for influenza, then why would Covid not spread too?

We have given up masking, not kept up the immunity.

What should be our strategy?

We should make sure there is a booster dose for everyone who has had two doses and all senior citizens and those with comorbidity should get a second booster.

On a daily basis we are seeing four to five deaths.

Who are the people who are dying?

What is their profile?

We need to know these things. We do not take health issues seriously.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com

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