New Delhi: As countries like China and Japan bear the maximum brunt of the global Covid surge, India has survived the immediate threat and according to health experts, majority of the population has got either natural immunity or vaccine-induced immunity to all coronavirus strains currently active in the country.
Given the exposure of the Omicron variant in India in the last one year, there is hardly any possibility of any significant public health problem to be caused by Covid in near terms.
“We will not see any surge in serious cases of Covid-19 in India in the near future. However, we need to prepare and strengthen our epidemic response system by taking lessons from the last two years,” Dr. Harshal R. Salve, Professor at Centre for Community Medicine at AIIMS, New Delhi, told IANS.
While China saw a massive surge in Covid and hospitalisation, especially in the month of December, Japan that is reeling under the eighth wave of the pandemic, has reported record coronavirus-related deaths almost every single day.
According to Dr Anita Mathew, Infectious Disease Specialist at Fortis Hospital in Mulund, Mumbai, in the last two and half years, India has seen three waves of Covid-19 with different variants like Delta, Omicron and its subvariants in circulation, which caused an “endemicity”.
“Along with that, we also had a robust vaccination programme in place that helped us reduce the severity of infection, and it helped control further spread of the disease. We have over 95 per cent of the population with primary doses of vaccine and 30 per cent have got a booster,” Dr Mathew told IANS.
In India, we have a large population that has already been infected with Covid, thus the combination of infection and vaccination has developed a certain amount of herd immunity, said heath experts.
“Thus, we have not yet seen any worrying situation of either wave of outbreaks or severe disease. Whereas, in China, the zero-Covid policies and strict regulations for the first couple of years are an exception in this respect, which is probably why there is a sudden surge of infections there,” she explained.
The current variant in China is not the new one; it’s a part of the Omicron family and India is likely to see a wave only if we have a new subvariant that “we haven’t been exposed to in the past,a said the doctor.
According to Dr. Ravindra Gupta, Head of Department, Internal Medicine at C.K. Birla Hospital in Gurugram, Covid wave resurgence in China and other countries has evaded India so far.
“It could be an effect of negative Covid tests being made compulsory by the government travelling from the impacted countries. The other reason, and most likely, is the herd immunity that has developed in our country due to effective mass vaccination against Covid. However, we should still be cautious and vigilant,” said Dr Gupta.