Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Corona: Hope on the horizon?

TOWNPOST EDITORIAL

The rate of the number of people testing positive compared to total number of tests, which is also known as positivity rate, is showing signs of a decline in the country. And this may be a good sign.

According to analyses, on August 9, the positivity rate reached 9 per cent and since then it has been on a constant decline and has now reached 8.72. The rate of increase in the number of new cases being detected is also showing a sign of decease with time.

This does not mean that the cases are not increasing, but the rate of their increase has started slowing down.

Numbers show that the number of fresh cases all over the country has not been going above 60,000 over the last 15 days. This is a very healthy sign.

In US and Brazil too, the daily detection of new number of cases had peaked at around 60,000 to 70,000 cases. After this level the new cases in those two countries had also started showing a decrease.

Although the conditions and parameters of those two countries are vastly different from that of India, this shows that there is a hope of new cases plateauing in India too.

The fact that the daily growth rate of infections has been on the decline and is now at around 2.49, the lowest point, is very encouraging.

Although the number of daily tests in the country has increased by around 2 lakh samples per day, the number of new cases being detected daily has remained almost at the same level, something near 60,000 range.

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This shows we might be reaching a point that indicates flattening of the curve.

Another encouraging sign came from a serological survey conducted in Pune. That survey was conducted in a city that is badly affected by the pandemic. And the results show that more than 51 per cent people had antibodies, meaning that more than half of the population was already infected.

This number may not be very relevant for Jamshedpur, because in our city the infections reached quite late, but one indication is clear – more people may have already been infected than is suspected. And that a significant number of people may be asymptomatic and may be carrying antibodies.

Experts have indicated that the R0 for Covid-19 may be between 2 and 3. R0 is the number of people an infected person is likely to infect. The higher the R0, the more people need to be resistant for the community to reach herd immunity stage.

Keeping this in mind, experts believe that 60 to 70 percent people need to be immune for the entire community to develop herd immunity to this virus, so that the infection rates start declining.

We may be quite far from that point. But, a ray of light may be around the corner.

However, this virus is a novel one and it means we do not know much about its behaviour. It may behave completely differently from estimates. And it also has a habit of coming back.

But, we humans also have a habit of seeing hope on the horizon.

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