Coronavirus Briefing Newsletter – Times of India


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THE COUNT
  • India’s health ministry on Sunday confirmed 39,742 new cases and 535 fatalities, taking the total to 31,371,901 cases (408,212 active cases) and 420,551 fatalities.
  • Worldwide: Over 193.72 million cases and 4,151,919 fatalities.
  • Vaccination in India: 433,150,864 doses. Worldwide: Over 3.81 billion doses
TODAY’S TAKE
You may need a booster dose to beat variants
You may need a booster dose to beat variants
  • With more mutations of the Covid-19 coronavirus likely in the near future, there might be a need for India to adopt a booster dose with second-generation Covid vaccines, said Dr Randeep Guleria, director, AIIMS.
  • “It seems that we probably need the booster dose because with passage of time, immunity tends to wane. We would like to have the booster dose that will also protect against the emerging variants,” he said.
  • The AIIMS director said, “Second-generation vaccines will be better in terms of the immunity they give against the emerging variants and better overall efficacy. The trials of booster vaccine shots are already going on. Once the entire population is vaccinated, then the next step will be to administer a booster dose.”
  • Health officials in the US government also expect that people who are 65 and older or who have compromised immune systems will most likely need a third shot from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, according to an NYT report. Till a few weeks ago, they had said there was not enough evidence to back boosters yet.
  • New research suggests that the Pfizer vaccine is less effective against Covid after about six months. Israeli ministry of health said last week that Pfizer’s vaccine was just 39% effective in preventing infection in that country in June and July, compared with 95% from January to April. The shot remained over 90% effective in preventing severe disease and nearly as effective in preventing hospitalisation.
TELL ME ONE THING
How many cases a day can India’s healthcare system handle?
How many cases a day can India’s healthcare system handle?
  • 50,000 per day — that appears to be the magic number of fresh daily Covid-19 infections that India’s beleaguered healthcare system can handle without collapsing, as happened during the second wave of the pandemic in April, May and June.
  • According to an empowered group of officers who are drafting an emergency strategy to tackle Covid-19, daily fresh infections should be kept to a maximum of 50,000 through “non-pharmacological” methods such as wearing masks and social distancing, along with lockdowns when and where necessary.
  • During the second wave, India was witnessing more than 4 lakh cases daily of fresh infections — a number that has been below the 50,000 mark since June 25. However, for the past several weeks, the number of daily fresh infections has continued to hover around the 40,000 mark with the exception of a day or two.
  • The group, which expects India to record between 4 to 5 lakh daily fresh infections during a projected third wave, has also called for speeding up the vaccination process as less than 50% of the adult population has so far received even a single dose. Of these, less than 10 crore are fully vaccinated, that is, those who have received both doses.
  • Simultaneously, the group, which is headed by Niti Aayog V K Paul, has also called for increasing the number of ICU beds by 80,000 and non-ICU beds with oxygen facility by 1 lakh within the next couple of months as the current capacity can only cater to a caseload of 2.7 lakh fresh infections a day. Of these, the group has recommended reserving 5% of ICU beds and 4% non-ICU oxygen enabled beds for children as it’s feared the third wave could target kids as well.
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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Judhajit Basu, Sumil Sudhakaran, Tejeesh N.S. Behl
Research: Rajesh Sharma



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