By Dr Rajesh Chawla
How serious is the covid resurge globally?
At this point, India has nothing to be concerned about. China is in a situation where many of its citizens will become infected and will lack vaccine protection. Those who have not been immunised should do so right away. We should wear a face mask and avoid crowding. We will be safe if we do these things. The government should keep testing going.
Will it affect India too, and why?
For nearly two years, covid restrictions were relaxed, and natural infections infected nearly everyone in India. The population has strong herd immunity. As a result, we may not face a China-like situation in India. Natural infections were not allowed to spread earlier in China due to the zero Covid policy. As a result, either through vaccination or natural selection, a portion of their population was rendered immune. As a result, they are now seeing an increase in the number of cases since the restrictions were lifted.
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Should a fourth booster be introduced?
Boosters are crucial for people who have comorbidities. People with comorbidities may benefit from the third dose of vaccination. However, if a third dose has already been taken, there is no recommendation for a fourth dose at this time, and if one has previously suffered from Covid and has had two vaccinations, they are certainly safeguarded from getting the severe disease — this we have practically seen on the ground with patients.
Is the new China strain more deadly?
Covid symptoms are unlikely to change as a result of BF.7 in India. Most people will have mild flu-like symptoms, including fever, which can be treated at home with rest and paracetamol. None of the four BF.7 cases in India required hospitalisation. In China, the virus is still causing upper respiratory tract symptoms, as opposed to Delta, which infected the lower respiratory tract. However, because the wave is occurring in the winter, other secondary viruses are also circulating, exacerbating the effects of a Covid infection.
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Are Indian vaccines enough to combat the new variant?
Yes, Indian vaccine should be enough to prevent occurrence of serious illness.
Dr Rajesh Chawla is senior consultant, pulmonology & critical care, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi