The country on Tuesday reported 3,17,352 new Covid-19 cases. Daily new Covid cases crossed the three-lakh mark after around eight months. Case positivity in the country was at 16% with total active cases were at 19,24,051.
According to Union health secretary, Rajesh Bhushan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh are `states of concern’. Maharashtra’s weekly case positivity was at 22.12%, Karnataka (15.12%), Tamil Nadu (20.05%), Karnataka (32%) and Delhi (30.5%). The number of districts with case positivity of more than 5% has gone up to 515 compared to 335 districts one week ago.
While the number of cases is rising, the health secretary said hospitalisation and mortality were significantly lower in the third phase compared to the second phase. Last April, the country had 31.70 lakh active cases, 3.86 lakh new cases with 3,059 deaths and 2% full vaccination. On January 20, 2022, there were 19.24 lakh cases, 3.17 lakh new cases with 380 deaths and 72% full vaccination.
“The current surge in India is not witnessing an increase in severe illness and death following high vaccination uptake,” Dr Balram Bhargava, director-general, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said. All serious diseases and death are very less in this wave because of the high levels of vaccination, he said at the health ministry briefing.
Vaccines have remained beneficial in India and have shown their ability to reduce deaths considerably among vaccinated compared to unvaccinated, Dr Bhargava said. “Because of high vaccination uptake we are not witnessing that much severe disease and death, however, those with comorbidities should monitor their health and avoid complications,” he added.
Vaccines prevent death and, therefore, is a must, he said. The country had till Thursday vaccinated 94% of the eligible population with the first dose and 72% with the second dose with a total of 160 crore Covid-19 doses administered. Nearly 52% of the children in the 15-18 years age group had been vaccinated. Around 63% of the 35 lakh health workers and 58% of the 33 lakh frontline workers had taken booster shots.
Those who are 60 years and above with comorbidities saw 39% coverage with booster dose. Around 18,68,00 out of the eligible 47,81,000 persons in this vulnerable group had received the booster jabs.
V K Paul, member, health, Niti Aayog, said the government had plans to vaccinate children up to 12 years and they were working on this. A decision would be taken based on scientific evidence, Paul said.
According to the health ministry data, there is no change in the impact of Covid on children in the 0-19 age group. Hospitalisation remained in the 10-11% range, while deaths were in the 0.96 to 0.70 range in the earlier and current wave.
Citing the example of Delhi, the ministry said that bed occupancy was very high between April 1 to May 20 period. Though cases and positivity have been growing in the country, the bed occupancy had reduced significantly in the third wave. There is also a reduction in Covid pneumonia cases with only upper respiratory tract infections noted in the third wave.