INDIA today posted 31,443 fresh cases and 2020 deaths in the last 24 hours while WHO has sounded an alert about the fast-spreading Delta and other variants in the world, laying stress on the massive vaccination at the earliest before fresh waves hit the world in a catastrophic way.
India reports 31,443 new #COVID19 cases in the last 24 hours; the lowest in 118 days. Recovery rate increases to 97.28%. India’s active caseload currently at 4,31,315; lowest in 109 days.
More than 39.46 Crore vaccine doses were provided to States/UTs.More than 1.91 Cr balance and unutilized doses still available with States/UTs and private hospitals to be administered, the Union Health Ministry said amid reports some states are running short of vaccines. Details of spurt in deaths figures are awaited but initial reports suggest that it has happened because of backlog figures from MP that reported additional 1,481 deaths figures- backlog.
More than 39.46 crores (39,46,94,020) vaccine doses have been provided to States/UTs so far, through all sources and a further 12,00,000 doses are in the pipeline. Of this, the total consumption including wastages is 37,55,38,390 doses (as per data available at 8 AM today). More than 1.91 Cr (1,91,55,630) balance and unutilized COVID Vaccine doses are still available with the States/UTs and private hospitals to be administered, the government said today.
India’s overall situation is 38.14 Cr. Vaccine Doses administered so far under Nationwide Vaccination Drive;India reports 31,443 new cases in the last 24 hours; lowest in 118 days;3,00,63,720 total recoveries across the country so far; Recovery Rate increases to 97.28%;49,007patients recovered during last 24 hours; India’s Active Caseload currently at 4,31,315; the lowest in 109 days;Active cases constitute 1.40% of total cases; Weekly Positivity Rate remains below 5%, currently at 2.28%; Daily Positivity Rate at 1.81%, less than 3% for 22 consecutive days
Testing capacity substantially ramped up – 43.40 cr tests total conducted
The COVID-19 Delta variant is traveling around the world at a “scorching pace” driving a new spike in cases and deaths, but it’s exposing a ‘hugely uneven and inequitable’ global gap in vaccine supply, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
“We’re in the midst of a growing two-track pandemic where the haves and have-nots within and between countries are increasingly divergent”, underscored Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus.
He explained that although the Delta variant was spreading quickly in places with high vaccination coverage, in countries with low vaccination coverage, the situation is particularly bad.
“Delta and other highly transmissible variants are driving catastrophic waves of cases, which are translating into high numbers of hospitalizations and death. Even countries that successfully managed to ward off the early waves of the virus through public health measures alone are now in the midst of devastating outbreaks”, he said.
He added that in low-income countries, exhausted health workers are battling to save lives among shortages of personal protective equipment, oxygen, and treatments.
Pandemic ‘not over, anywhere’
Tedros explained that vaccines have never been the way out of the crisis on their own, but the current wave is demonstrating what a “powerful tool they are”.
“We are experiencing a worsening public health emergency that further threatens lives, livelihoods, and a sound global economic recovery. It is definitely worse in places that have very few vaccines, but the pandemic is not over, anywhere”, he highlighted.
Using a metaphor of a forest ablaze, he reiterated that the world needs to put out the “pandemic inferno” in a united fashion, because hosing down just a part of it will reduce the flames in one area, but while it’s smoldering everywhere, “sparks will eventually travel and grow again into a roaring furnace”.
Vaccinate the most vulnerable
The WHO’s head reiterated that the global gap in vaccine supply is hugely uneven and inequitable.
“Some countries and regions are actually ordering millions of booster doses before other countries have had supplies to vaccinate their health workers and most vulnerable”, he said.
He added that data shows that vaccination offers long-lasting immunity against severe and deadly COVID-19, and instead of Moderna and Pfizer prioritizing the supply of vaccines as boosters to countries whose populations have relatively high coverage, he needed them ‘to go all out to channel supply to the COVAX global initiative, the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, and low-middle income countries.
While Tedros recognized that tens of millions of donations of shots are starting to come through, he said that they needed to come faster, through an “all-out, no regrets accelerated building up of new vaccine manufacturing hubs”.
Calling it “enlightened self-interest,” he said that when a country shares vaccines, it is actually helping itself.
“The whole world is sick and tired, and everyone wants to open up, and ending the pandemic is key… when we have a pandemic everywhere, the virus will continue to circulate”.
He also said it was “extremely disappointing” to see countries that had vaccinated most of their population with two doses, thinking about a third. “It actually makes no sense”, he underscored.
Tedros also explained that vaccine sharing does not necessarily mean giving vaccines for free.
“I have a list of countries that say they have money, they can pay, but there are no vaccines…The world has the means to increase production quickly, what we lack is global leadership”, he added.
Pharmaceuticals must share licenses
The WHO Director-General said that pharmaceutical companies must share their licenses, know-how and technology.
“Do what AstraZeneca is doing” he said, which started in Europe but has production in India, Korea, Australia and Japan, with more expansion planned, explaining that this gives COVAX the green light to buy vaccines from additional facilities.
He reminded that thousands of people are still dying every day, and that currently, solidarity is not working because of “greed”.
“Countries vaccinating their population are starting to say, ‘we have managed to control this, so it is not our problem’. But I am not so sure they are out of the woods; I don’t think they are in control because of the Delta strain and others that may evolve…They ignore the rest of the world and give the virus a chance of circulating”, he warned.
Tedros said there cannot be more talk about vaccinating low income countries in 2023 while there are the tools to help them now.
“We are saying it again and again and we need a listening ear. This is for your own sake and nobody is out of the woods yet. For those with the means, it is in our hands. We can end it very soon, because we have the tools”, he underscored.
Vaccines still working
Ann Lindstrand, WHO Covax co-lead, explained that currently there isn’t enough evidence pointing to a need for booster doses.
“If you have a full course of vaccination of any of the WHO-approved vaccines, you have a good protection”, she explained.
WHO Chief scientist, Dr. Soumiya Swaminathan, also said that while there has been an increase of infections in vaccinated populations, there have not been more hospitalizations.
“There are reports coming in that vaccinated population are having cases of infection particularly Delta, but the majority of them are mild. The people in the hospitals are unvaccinated”, she explained.
Swaminathan reminded that decisions about booster doses should be made based on data, and not “on companies saying we need a third dose”.