Covid-19 can’t be eradicated; can only be reduced to an endemic: Experts

News Network
July 3, 2021

Cases of Covid-19 might be declining steadily but as the virus is mutating, attaining that magical zero figure in Delhi is unlikely, experts have said, and predicted that coronavirus will be reduced to an endemic in the future.

The Centre, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleague Satyendar Jain had said last year that one will have to learn to live with the coronavirus and make its prevention norms a part of our lives.

Dr Suresh Kumar, medical director of Delhi government-run LNJP Hospital said there will always be a few cases of the virus.

"Zero is an unlikely figure. The virus is mutating and it is difficult to predict it's future behaviour," he said.

Explaining why the virus has posed such a challenge, Dr Sanjeev K. Singh, Resident Medical Director, Amrita Hospitals in Faridabad said it is an mRNA virus which keeps changing its structure. 

"These virus is smart and just for the sake of living, it will keep mutating. Covid will be there and may not be affecting all 193 countries but it will be there.

"Coming down to zero won't be achievable. In hospitals for getting surgeries, one has to get tested for Hepatitis and HIV. Eventually, you will be tested for Covid too," he said. 

Dr Gauri Agarwal, IVF expert and founder of Seeds of Innocence said keeping the 1918 pandemic as a yardstick, we know that eradicating the virus is an unrealistic possibility.

"As Covid-19 gradually becomes an endemic, likely in 12-24 months, it will probably stop being a statistic that is being watched on a daily basis. Hence, while we may see zero reportable cases, there may never be a time with actual zero cases ever."

Amid concerns over the possibility of a third wave and emergence of the Delta Plus variant, experts assuaged fears of that possible wave being more lethal since a majority of the population has been infected.

"In my view, if a new strain doesn't come up against which the vaccines are not effective, I don't think the third wave will be as lethal as the second wave," said Dr Rajesh Chawla, Senior Pulmonologist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.

He highlighted that coronavirus will become an endemic in days to come.

Agreeing with Chawla, Dr. Rommel Tickoo, Director, Internal Medicine, Max Healthcare, said we are still in the second Covid wave.

"Seventy per cent of the cases are limited to Maharashtra, and southern states. In north Indian states, there was a sudden exponential increase and the virus infected a large number of people together which is why the steady decline.

"The effect of the virus will be blunted because of the majority of people being exposed to the virus and vaccination," he added.

Tickoo said there might be a spike but if the virus doesn't become multi-resistant and undergoes mutations, the third wave won't be as deadly as the second wave and might be lesser in severity than even the first wave.

Delhi had reeled under a brutal second wave with oxygen shortage and unavailability of beds adding to woes of patients. However, in the last few days cases have shown a steady decline with the positivity rate coming down below one per cent. 

On Monday, the city had recorded 59 cases, the lowest single-day rise this year, and two deaths. After that, the cases have hovered around the 90 mark.

Talking about the fluctuations in cases, Dr Gurpreet Sandhu, President, Council for Healthcare and Pharma, said, "On the fluctuation module, we are aware that the testing protocols in India are very abysmal, we do not follow standard protocol of testing.

"Secondly, some people in rural community in India are still not aware about the what vaccine is for, how it will affect them or how it will protect them from the virus."

Experts unanimously vouched for vaccination as the answer to blunt the effect of the virus.

"The effect will be blunted because of the majority of people being exposed to the virus and the vaccination. As the vaccination numbers go up we will be able to blunt the virus impact. More than 50 lakh people have at least received the first while more than 18 lakh have been fully vaccinated," Tickoo said.

However, he said, vaccine hesitancy is becoming problematic. 

"People still give preference to false news. It has the potential to derail our ambitious vaccination programme. Roping in celebrities, credible voices will help it while doctors have a big role to play. In the UK and the US, majority of the population has received their first doses. In the US they have taken off the masks. We should see these examples," he added. 

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News Network
September 15,2021

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India produced the largest amount of social media misinformation on Covid-19 due to the country's higher internet penetration rate, increasing social media consumption and users' lack of internet literacy, according to a new study.

The study, 'Prevalence and Source Analysis of Covid-19 Misinformation in 138 Countries', was published in Sage's International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions journal.

The study analysed 9,657 pieces of misinformation that originated in 138 countries. They were fact-checked by 94 organisations to understand the prevalence and sources of misinformation in different countries.

"Of all the countries, India (18.07 per cent) produced the largest amount of social media misinformation, perhaps thanks to the country's higher internet penetration rate, increasing social media consumption and users' lack of internet literacy," the study said.

Also, the results also showed that India (15.94 per cent), the US (9.74 per cent), Brazil (8.57 per cent) and Spain (8.03 per cent) are the four most misinformation-affected countries.

Based on the results, the study said, it is presumed that the prevalence of Covid-19 misinformation can have a positive association with the pandemic situation.

"Social media (84.94 per cent) produces the largest amount of misinformation, and the internet (90.5 per cent) as a whole is responsible for most of the Covid-19 misinformation. Moreover, Facebook alone produces 66.87 per cent of the misinformation among all social media platforms," it stated.

Earlier, the World Health Organisation had also warned that false information on Covid-19 is spreading and putting people in danger.

The WHO had urged people to make sure to double-check everything they hear with trusted sources.

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News Network
September 17,2021

As farmers protest a year of the contentious farm laws, Shiromani Akali Dal leader and former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said the Centre is indifferent to the farmers' needs.

"A number of farmers have died and many are still sitting at the state borders but this government (Centre) is indifferent. We will continue our fight until the three farm laws are repealed," he said.

The Delhi Traffic Police on Friday alerted commuters about the closure of specific roads and suggested diversions to avoid any inconvenience due to the protests.

Taking to Twitter, the Delhi Traffic Police informed about closure of roads at Jharoda Kalan border and suggested commuters to refrain from using these routes in view of the farmers' movement.

A senior police officer said, "Members of Shiromani Akali Dal have gathered at Gurudwara Rakab Ganj on Friday morning in view of a protest march organised by them against the farm laws."

The SAD under the leadership of its President Sukhbir Singh Badal had given a call to take out a march starting from Gurdwara Talab Ganj Sahib to Parliament House against the "anti-farmer" laws passed by the Central government.

Due to a demonstration call by farmers to assemble at Gurudwara Rakab Ganj, police pickets have been placed in precaution at different areas in the national capital while traffic is being released after vehicles have been checked, a senior traffic police officer said.

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News Network
September 21,2021

Bengaluru, Sept 21: Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje on Tuesday urged the Karnataka government to support sustainable agriculture by increasing the export of millets.

Her appeal came as the United Nations has declared 2023 as the International year of millets. “Karnataka being a home for ‘Siridhanya’’, the government's intent is to reintroduce and promote staple and nutritious food products and increase its export,” the Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare said while inaugurating the “Vanijya Utsav”.

The event is part of the “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav”, which is being organised by the Central Commerce Department in collaboration with the Government of Karnataka on the occasion of 75th-year anniversary celebrations of the Indian Independence at The Lalit Ashok here on Tuesday.

Karandlaje said, “The state has established six Centres of Excellence under Indo–Israel-Netherlands Programme to boost quality and quantity production of Mango, Pomegranate, Flowers, Oil palm etc.

The initiative will make India shine on the global front as a leading producer and innovator of high-quality agricultural products.”

According to Karandlaje, who is a BJP MP from Udupi-Chikkamagaluru constituency in Karnataka said the state government has been working to formulate an Agri-Export Cell to better target the policy initiatives and to expand its export market reach. She added that her ministry is also actively engaged in the implementation of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ Scheme and ‘Prime Minister Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises’.

The Minister assured the Centre's complete support to the Government of Karnataka to help them achieve their objectives. She also said the administration in Karnataka is committed to materialising central government initiatives such as developing districts as export hubs, setting up export development centres and ‘One District one Product’ scheme to achieve the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat, Vocal for Local and Make in India.

Speaking at the function, Karnataka Additional Chief Secretary, Commerce and Industry Department Ramana Reddy said Karnataka has facilitated India’s growth through its Information Technology industry.

"Apart from this, we have successfully facilitated the economic growth of the nation through our conducive business environment and business-friendly policies," he said.

The programme was organised by SEPC under the guidance of the Union Commerce and Industry Department. Eminent people and industry experts from various leading Chambers of Commerce, Industry Associations, Export Promotion Councils attended the event. 

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