India’s current Covid surge not leading to severe illness, deaths: ICMR chief

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The current upsurge in Covid cases is not causing severe illness and deaths following the high uptake of Covid vaccines, Indian Council of Medical Research chief Dr Balram Bhargava said on Thursday.

Adressing the media on current Covid surge, he said that the vaccine remains beneficial and deaths have considerably reduced as compared to the second Covid surge .

“Vaccines have remained beneficial in India. Deaths have considerably reduced due to vaccinations. In this third surge of Covid-19, we are currently not witnessing severe illness and deaths due to high vaccination uptake,” he said.

However, those with comorbidities must monitor their health and avoid any complications, he added.

“Vaccine prevents death and therefore is a must. Deaths are very low in this wave because of very high uptake of Covid vaccines which is 94 per cent of first dose in adults and 72 per cent full dose in the country,” Dr Bhargava said.

About the Covid tests, he said that an increasing trend of home covid tests has been observed in this current surge. “In these 20 days of the year, we have seen 2 lakhs home tests,” he added.

NITI Aayog’s Member, Health, Dr V.K. Paul, said that the overall 16 per cent positivity in the country is very high. Some states even have reported over 50 per cent positivity like Goa. Kerala has 42 per cent, while Rajasthan has 31 per cent positivity rate. Himachal Pradesh has around 30 per cent Covid positivity rate.

Emphasising the role of vaccination to prevent infection, Dr Paul said that mortality has largely been reduced but the comorbid patients are still major concern.

“In relatively low mortality phase of pandic, comorbidities are most vulnerable, so precautions doses must be administered to the eligible population,” he added.

Around 10 per cent population over 60 plus are still due for the first dose, while 25 per cent are due for the second dose of vaccines, he added while asking to get the vaccine administered on the time. He also asked healthcare workers and frontline workers to come for their precautionary doses.

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