Covid-19 third wave disaster soon? Top virologist warns against reopening, cites India’s low vaccinated population
Virologist Dr. W. Ian Lipkin has warned India that it did not have the Covid-safety armour needed to fully reopen the country, citing the extremely low vaccinated population, PTI reported.
Dr. Lipkin less than 20% of the Indian population was vaccinated. On top of that, 30% of the population under 18 years were not eligible. This effectively meant that India didn’t have the sort of armour needed to safely reopen the country.
The virologist also warned against the long-term impact of Covid-19, adding people usually didn’t talk about it.
These people might not necessarily have an acute form of the disease, but remain for a long period, and even permanently, crippled by fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction, Dr. Lipkin said.
He added that as many as 30% of the infected population could face these problems.
According to Dr. Lipkin, even if the virus magically disappeared, these individuals might continue to be infected and their lives would be impacted for decades.
Dr. Lipkin said the Spanish Flu of 1918 had provided many lessons, but those were not carried forward.
This might not even be the worst of potential pandemics, Dr. Lipkin said, adding that there was a need to ensure the lessons from Covid-19 were carried forward.
He also issued a warning about the several SARS-CoV-2 variants that are circulating.
Dr. Lipkin said there were already circulating variants that didn’t have names, but could potentially be more capable of transmission.
The virologist also said there was a need to think beyond vaccines that could prevent severe illness to ones that prevent transmission.
He called for improving the public health infrastructure. He also called for tracking and tracing exposed individuals so that a “ring vaccination strategy”, successfully used in India to eradicate smallpox, could be adopted.
Masking is a useful strategy to prevent transmission, Dr. Lipkin said. He also added that people needed to change their thought process and be less selfish.
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