WHO scientist said – Corona in Endemic Stage in India; Will there be the Third Wave?

Corona can reach such a stage in India from where it becomes an endemic disease instead of a pandemic. What does it mean for a disease to be endemic?
Image Credit: ANI news
Image Credit: ANI news

Corona can reach such a stage in India from where it becomes an endemic disease instead of a pandemic. Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said this. That is, now the rate of its spread has been much slower or less than before.

What does it mean for a disease to be endemic? What does being endemic to Corona mean for India and the world? Will there be new cases now, but there will be no epidemic-like situation? What will happen to the fear that many experts were telling about the third wave? What if a dangerous variant comes across? On all these questions, we spoke to epidemiologist Dr Chandrakant Laharia.

What does it mean for a disease to be endemic?

Whenever a new disease comes and it occurs in a small area, it is called an outbreak. For example, when Covid-19 first came to Wuhan, it was the stage of the outbreak. When it started spreading in Thailand and other countries from January 2020, corona was in the epidemic stage at that time. Before 11 March 2020, Corona was in the Epidemic Stage. On March 11, the WHO declared it a pandemic. That is, it has come to the stage of a global epidemic.

These stages do not indicate the severity of the disease. Tells the area in which the stage of the disease has spread. When herd immunity comes through natural infection and vaccination in the population, the effect of the disease will be greatly reduced and it comes to the endemic stage. In this situation, the circulation of the virus comes under control, but the disease does not end. Most diseases go into the endemic stage. For example, diseases like malaria, dengue, measles are in the endemic stage in India.

Source: Google / Image credit: ANI News
Source: Google / Image credit: ANI News

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a disease is considered to be in the endemic stage when its presence becomes permanent and the spread becomes normal. In such a situation, the effect of the epidemic becomes limited to a few people or a particular area. Along with this, the virus has also weakened. Apart from this, people also learn to live with that disease.

According to an article published in Science Journal in 2020, when an epidemic is endemic, the responsibility of preventing it shifts from governments to common people. However, the number of cases in the endemic stage of the disease cannot be determined. According to the population in different areas, the number of cases coming in the endemic stage can be different. That is, if in a country with a population of 200 million, the number of daily cases is 200, then it is considered to be the endemic stage of the disease, then in a country with a population of 20 million, this number will be less.

So has Corona really entered the endemic stage?

Right now the world is in a state of pandemic. In such a situation, it is too early to say that Corona is in the endemic stage in India. As long as the world is in a pandemic, all countries are at risk. When the WHO declares the end of the epidemic from the world, then only we should believe that this disease has come to the endemic stage.

What happens when the endemic stage is reached?

There will come a time when most of the population will have a natural infection or have been vaccinated. So even after that, some cases will keep coming. After reaching the endemic stage, like other diseases, cases will keep coming, but the severity will decrease. The virus will continue to circulate in the community, but there will be no epidemic situation.

Source: Google / Image credit: ANI News
Source: Google / Image credit: ANI News

So will it be like a common cold?

It is too early to say this now. In a study published in Science magazine in August this year, three things have been said.

  • The first thing is that this virus has surprised everyone. Its mutations are increasing. It is rapidly transmitting, but still its transmissibility capacity is one-third that of viruses like measles. In such a situation, its new variants can be more transmissible.
  • Secondly, the kind of pattern this virus is showing, it is feared that after ten years it has become a completely new virus.
  • The third thing may be that two variants of the vaccine may also be needed in the coming time. In such a situation, it is too early to say that in the coming few years, the coronavirus will be nothing more than the common cold. Like many other coronaviruses are currently among people, but they do not cause serious illness.

Talking about the endemic stage, is herd immunity coming?

There is no such stage yet. The vaccine that is being applied does not eliminate the virus from the root. It only protects against serious illness. The vaccine does not reduce the infection. Vaccinated people simply will not get a serious illness. Being vaccinated means that most people will not need to be hospitalized if the disease re-spreads.

Herd immunity will come when at least 85% of the people have got immunity. The total adult population in the country is 60%. In such a situation, even if the entire adult population of the country is vaccinated, herd immunity will not be formed. Anyway, the efficacy of the vaccine is 80%. In such a situation, it is very difficult to get herd immunity. In such a situation, we cannot think of herd immunity against the coronavirus. The pandemic continues in the world right now. In such a situation, the third wave may come in India in the coming time. It is of course that the more people have natural infection and vaccination, the less its severity will be.

What does this mean for India and the world?

So far 7 coronaviruses that infect humans have been reported. Of these, only three SARS, MERS and the current virus SARS-CoV-2 have been serious. These three not only make the infected person seriously ill, but it can also lead to the death of the infected. The mortality rate in SARS was 10%, while the mortality rate in MERS was around 35%. At the same time, the current virus SARS-CoV-2 has a mortality rate of close to 2%.

Of these three, only SARS-CoV-2 is currently affecting people around the world. The effect may last for a few years to come. At the same time, SARS spread from China to the world and MERS spread from Saudi Arabia have now become locally content. The last case of SARS was reported in 2003. At the same time, cases of MERS still keep coming.

Will there be no need for masks and social distancing after the endemic stage comes?

Image Credit: Amar Ujala
Image Credit: Amar Ujala

It is too early to say this now. Even after reaching the endemic stage, people who have recovered from serious illness, the elderly, etc. will need to follow these rules.

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