Vaccines, masks and social distancing

The Transcript:

India has set a world record by vaccinating more than 2.5 crore people on a single day.

On Friday, which was incidentally also the PM Narendra Modi’s birthday, more than 2.5 crore vaccinations were administered. This is the highest in 24 hours since the vaccination started in India.

BJP-ruled states contributed significantly in this drive and Karnataka, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat served 20 lakh jabs each on the day.

While India has succeeded in disproving the lamentations of naysayers by rising up to the challenge and creating a mammoth vaccination infrastructure, it would have to sustain this big boost to vaccination drive for some time to ensure that most of its population is vaccinated.

It is true that things are not very bad on covid front in India right now. However, we are still getting almost 35 to 40 thousand new cases every day. There have been some improvements in the situation. But we do run the risk of letting the pandemic get out of hand.

The best thing about India is that we have overcome vaccine hesitancy to a large extent. Even in rural areas, people have started lining up to get jabs as they realise that vaccines remain a potent weapon to fight the pandemic with.

This success in fighting vaccine hesitancy is really encouraging and points out to a good communication strategy that we employed.

Things are not very good in several other countries. Vaccine hesitancy is causing a big issue in an advanced country like USA.

R N Vanessa W is a Resident Nurse in Emergency Room. She has been making passionate appeals to the people to get vaccinated. Her updates are really shocking.

Just 2 hours back, she tweeted: “Just woke Just woke up… half our ICU COVID census died. All not vaxed. All beds filled up within hours. Non vaxed pts. God help us!!! Please let this crazy shit end. Ok off to work.”

And only yesterday she had similarly tweeted an interesting but very useful screenshot from the systems of The Queen’s Health Systems. The data showed that there were 125 persons hospitalised. Out of those, only 13 were fully vaccinated. And it meant that 112 were not vaccinated. And out of 25 persons in the ICU, there were zero persons who were fully vaccinated. 25 out of 25 in the ICU were those who were not vaccinated. Similarly there were 22 patients on ventilators. And all those 22 persons were those who were not vaccinated. Not a single patient who was fully vaccinated was on ventilators.

So, this makes it amply clear that vaccinations are clear advantage as far as the impact of the virus is concerned.

Vaccines are saving precious lives everywhere.

Reports from United States and other western countries are really worrying. These indicate that Covid-19 deaths are once again on the rise and the situation is fast turning into a grim one.

Several factors including the fast spread of delta variant and vaccine hesitancy among a large section of people is helping the virus create havoc.

While many states have opened up schools, people are also reluctant to wear masks in public. Combined with vaccine resistance, the pandemic has once again started taking a heavy toll.

Reports say that hospitals are getting out of beds in many states, while the shortage of staff too is causing a heavy burden on the health system.

Health professionals are ruing the fact that most of the people dying of the pandemic are those who have not been vaccinated. And they feel that these deaths were completely unnecessary and preventable. They are appealing to families to get vaccinated.

Around 1800 deaths are being caused everyday in US, while more than 170,000 new cases are being detected everyday.

This is huge keeping the population of US in mind and shows that the pandemic may have started scaling up.

The US is administering around 900,000 jabs every day for now.

It is now being clearly shown that the unvaccinated people are falling victim very fast. So much so that some experts, and even the President Joe Biden, have now started calling it ‘a pandemic of the unvaccinated’.

Vaccines seem to be the last and the most effective weapon against the pandemic. The fact that countries have not been able to vaccinate a major part of their population is our failure and in this race against time, it is important that we vaccinate more and more people across the world.

While, the humanity is battling with one of the worst pandemics in recent history, there are many experts who feel that the virus is not going to go away very soon from our lives. There are many experts who feel that with time, the virus will turn endemic and humans ultimately will learn to live and survive with it.

There are many virologists who think that the virus would not be completely eradicated, but would continue to survive and move around in different areas of the world for several years.

However, that does not mean that it would remain menacingly deadly in impact. It is also likely that once a large number of people get immunised either through vaccination or infection, it would start surviving like an endemic virus, just like influenza. Influenza and four human coronaviruses responsible for common colds are also endemic. Vaccines and immunity make the societies tolerate the seasonal outbreaks, illnesses and some deaths too.

Covid-19 too may take this route. It may not too.

Biology is not entirely predictable. We can only surmise based on history of pandemics and human experiences. However, nature does not follow the route of our past experiences always.

Besides, there can be a huge human cost before the virus turns into an endemic.

One thing is certain. We are still seeing a pandemic and we are susceptible to all its harmful impacts. The best available way to protect ourselves against the virus still remains vaccination and herd immunity.

Experts point out that billions of people are yet to be vaccinated in the world and there is every likelihood that the virus will keep coming back in different parts of the world among the unvaccinated from time to time for years.

Experts believe that the pandemic will be controlled effectively only after at least 95% of the people in the entire world are either vaccinated or acquire some immunity due to previous infection. Vaccination would likely play an important role here.

Experts also believe that it is hard to predict what course the pandemic would take in the days to come. However, we do have some control over some of the actions that can help us check the spread and impact of the pandemic. Vaccination remains the most potent weapon, while reducing transmission would also help save more and more people from catching the infection.

It is not the time yet to unmask.

Sadly, the masses on the streets don’t seem to be aware.

Vaccines with masks and social distancing should be persisted with even now.

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