Deaths as against active cases have been significantly lower in the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic than the previous one, the government said on Thursday underlining the current surge is not witnessing increase in severe illness or death following high vaccination uptake.
Presenting a comparison of the key indices during the second and third surge in India, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on April 30, 2021, there were 3,86,452 new cases, 3,059 deaths and 31,70,228 active cases and the proportion of fully vaccinated people that time was 2 per cent.
On January 20, 2022, there are 3,17,532 new cases, 380 deaths and 19,24,051 active cases and the proportion of fully vaccinated people is 72 per cent, he said.
“So it shows that deaths as against active cases have been significantly fewer in the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic than the second wave, while the vaccinated population has increased significantly from from the second to third wave.
“By this we want to tell you that vaccination is effective. The disease remains mild and in moderate levels in fully vaccinated individuals,” Bhushan said as he urged those who have not yet taken their first vaccine dose to take the shot and those who are overdue for their second dose to get fully inoculated.
“We track children’s data too, 0-19 years age group in 2020 they contributed to 10 per cent of the total cases and 0.96 per cent of total deaths. In 2021, 0-19 years contributed to 11 per cent of the total cases and 0.70 per cent of total deaths happening because of COVID_19. Between 2020 and 2021 there is not much of a difference either in terms of contribution of this age group or in terms of contribution of this group to total deaths,” he said.
ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava said, “The current surge in India is not witnessing an increase in severe illness and death because of high vaccination uptake. However, we have to remember one point, those with comorbidities should monitor their health and avoid complications.”
To summarize vaccines prevent death and therefore is a must,” he said.
He added that the overall test performance in the country is being maintained at a level comparable with the second wave.
NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul drew attention to the fact that there are still about 1 crore people (in the over 60 age group) who are yet to get their first dose and 25 per cent are yet to get a second dose.
“This is unfinished work. 52 per cent children have been covered in the 15-17 years age group, more healthcare and frontline workers should also come forward. Availability is not at all an issue here. 6.5 crore people’s second dose is still overdue.
“But why should it be overdue, everyone should take their second dose. All those who are not fully protected will not only be a danger to itself but others too. We have to accept masks and protect our seniors and the prevention tool here is vaccination and we need to take it in this paradigm,” Paul said.
Providing an update on Covid vaccination, Bhushan said 94 per cent of India’s adults have been administered the first dose, while 72 per cent are fully vaccinated.