The 3rd wave of COVID-19 infection due to the Corona Virus (SARS-CoV2) has significantly diminished in this country. There had been a rapid rise with enormous numbers during this phase in the months of December 2021 and January 2022. It seems that the number is going to significantly abate by the end of February. Fortunately, the infection had been short lasting and mild in severity. Mortality had been also quite low mostly restricted to the high risk groups. Most of the patients are likely to have suffered from the Omicron strain of SARS-CoV2 as suggested by the clinical course. It is however difficult to firmly say so in the absence of genome sequencing of the virus.
It is an obvious question in every one’s mind whether the worst is over (or not). The World Health Organization experts and others have repeatedly warned that the pandemic is not yet over even though the worst phase seems to have finally abated. Is this the time to say good-bye to COVID related curbs and wearing of masks? There is great resentment and show of protests in some of the countries. But one cannot be oblivious to the fact that the world continues to see increasing numbers of infections and deaths every day. The numbers of deaths approaching nearly one million in the United States have already crossed half a million in India. No doubt that we are not yet out of the woods even though we have nearly come to the end.
India has done fairly well in COVID management in spite of a huge population, overcrowding, migrant and homeless workers and a weak infrastructure. This can be attributed to timely political and administrative determination and decisions. Besides the standard public health interventions, an aggressive vaccination program has helped to achieve the objectives. Within a short time frame, India introduced and administered vaccination in a phased manner starting with preference for the elderly, high risk prone health-care workers and people with co-morbid diseases. Healthy adults of younger age-groups were included thereafter. By now, a total of over 170 crore doses have been administered, with full two-dose vaccination for more than half the Indian population. The booster 3rd dose vaccination has been already introduced.
Can we now afford to be lax in our efforts to control the pandemic? Certainly not as for as the vaccination program and general prevention are concerned! Avoidance of close contact and vaccination are the two most important measures which have helped to contain the spread of CVOID infection. We cannot take liberties with these measures. It should be also remembered that the vaccinated people suffer with less severe disease and lower deaths even if a few of them get COVID infection. Vaccination can therefore be considered as a boon – a man-made godly gift,