Wednesday, 7 April 2021
Covid-19 cases are increasing because of the natural cycle of the disease. There are still enough people who have been previously uninfected and vaccination coverage is not sufficient to stop transmission. The current upswing tells us something about how severe the increases in cases would have been, at the same time last year, had a lockdown not been instituted. That said, one should not compare cases between this year and last year. There is far more testing available now and so reported cases have gone up. It does not necessarily mean that there are actually more cases.
Q: Do you think strategies like lockdown is required, and would be as beneficial as it was last year?
It certainly doesn’t make sense to have widespread lockdowns. They were needed a year ago to prepare the health system and to alert people on the seriousness of the disease. That is no longer needed. However, there will likely have to be localized restrictions to prevent mass gatherings and events that could facilitate superspreading.
Q: What are your views on India’s Covid Vaccination Programme?
Currently, the problem is of people coming forward for vaccination. Given that India only makes 2 million vaccine doses a day and is aspiring to vaccinate 3 million or more a day, there is going to be a shortfall. At 2 million doses a day, it would take another 2.5 years to reach a target of 70% vaccination coverage. There is likely going to be a stage when vaccine hesitancy will be a barrier to increasing coverage but we are a long way from that situation.