Is COVID-19 becoming endemic in India? Find answers here

By: |
August 27, 2021 5:34 PM

An epidemic refers to a situation when the number of cases of the disease increases exponentially in a sudden pace.

endemic, dr swaminathanDr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, WHO, has said recently that COVID-19 may be entering a stage called endemic (Reuters Photo)

Endemic: Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organisation, has said recently that COVID-19 may be entering a stage called endemic. Meaning, some people will contract the virus but the level at which it will circulate will be considerably low. During an interview to new website The Wire, Swaminathan said that it was “very very feasible” that the situation remains the way it is now with infection levels touching highs and lows in different parts of the country, depending upon the vaccine coverage and natural immunity in particular regions.

All about ‘endemic’

The US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines endemic as “constant presence and/or usual prevalence of a disease or infectious agent in a population within a geographic area”. When epidemics become endemic, they become “increasingly tolerated” and the responsibility of protecting against it comes to an individual and no longer on the government, explains the article published in the journal Science in 2020.

An epidemic refers to a situation when the number of cases of the disease increases exponentially in a sudden pace. It means the cases rise more than the expected levels.

What does this mean for India and other countries?

A Total number of seven coronaviruses have been known to infect humans. But the ones that have emerged since the last two decades including SARS, MERS , and now SARS-CoV-2 are the deadliest ones killing many people and causing severe illnesses. Out of the three discussed above, humans are still dealing with SARS-CoV-2 and they are likely to continue dealing with it in the coming few years or so. SARS viruses that emerged in China and MERS, which emerged originally in Saudi Arabia were contained locally. SARS’s last case was detected back in 2003 while MERS is still circulating.

Factors endemicity may depend on

While it is hard to predict when exactly will covis infection become endemic in India or in other countries, vaccination rollout and with some people getting infected each day has helped them build natural immunity against the virus. They have either vaccine-induced immunity or may be both.

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