India will see another storm of Covid-19 cases likely in winters, warns NITI Aayog

New Delhi : As the festive season is round the corner with winter approaching, the NITI Aayog on Tuesday warned that the second peak of Covid-19 is impending over the country.

Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog on Tuesday during a press briefing said that India will see another storm of Covid-19 cases.

He said there is a stabilization in the impact of COVID-19 in the country, but we have to be more careful in our hygiene practices as it is a respiratory virus and most respiratory viruses escalate during winter, said Dr VK Paul.

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Futther he added, “But we have to be prepared and strictly follow Covid preventive measures. In European countries, the second peak is seen, so we have to be extra cautious. This is also a festive season. There are gatherings. And it is a favourable condition for the virus to create super spreader events.”

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“The tendency of a respiratory virus is that it thrives during winters. Since SARS-Cov-2 is a respiratory virus, we assume that its infectiousness will increase during winters. The study of pandemics of the Influenza virus reveals that the cases were increased during winter phases, more than the earlier phases,” he explained.

“We don’t have to create such a situation which is not in our benefit. We have to follow this Jan Andolan for Covid precautionary measures,” he said.

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He added that in order to prevent virus one must wear masks.

“The three-ply masks and homemade masks are beneficial for preventing the transmission of COVID-19. N95 masks are beneficial for health workers working in hospitals while surgical masks are effective in general practice use,” he said.

Speaking on India’s vaccine trial, he said, “Phase two of two Indian indigenous vaccines is nearly completed. In early November we can have the results. The other vaccine is Serum Oxford vaccine– undergoing phase three trial. Progress is good and by November end we may have results.”

Meanwhile, Director General of ICMR, Dr Balram Bhargava, who was also present at the press briefing, answered questions about the reinfection study done by the institute.

“We are taking the cut off of about 100 days if reinfection occurs because we have assumed the life of antibodies persists for 4 months, by some studies. It is still in progress and we will share the re-infection data soon,” said Dr Bhargava.

“A few reinfection cases have been identified in India. There are two in Mumbai, and one in Ahmedabad, so far. As per the World Health Organisation, there are about 24 reinfection cases in the world,” he added.

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