A step towards save the lives of many…..

Dear Readers,

Thank you for your continuous support. Double Helical has been making a difference in the lives of the socially and economically disadvantaged groups through raising awareness as well making voluntary contributions in the areas of education, health, human rights and social services. The magazine provides a platform to recognize innovation, people, products and services that are helping to transform the healthcare sector in the country and ushering in affordable, high quality and inclusive healthcare for masses.

Keeping this in mind, Double Helical once again organises Double Helical Health Conclave and National Health Awards 2021 on 12th December in New Delhi to paying homage to Covid-19 warriors who laid down their lives in line of duty, On the release of our special edition we shall also be giving awards to all those organizations who played pivotal role in providing COVID-19 care in difficult time.

In the current issue, we focus on current trends of Covid-19. As you know that the Covid-19 pandemic has turned into a seemingly unending cross country run with unexpected twists and turns. It started in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Overcoming all obstacles of lockdowns, social distancing and masks, the virus has spread from China to all parts of the globe. The initial pace has slowed down but for occasional bursts of speed. From a pandemic, the dynamics of the disease seems to be settling down to an endemic state, at least in countries like India with high population density. Sprint is sharp and short.

A trotting pace is more suited for a cross country run. While the virus is in its second wind, we can take time out to adjust our strategy according to this paradigm shift. Taking stock of the ruins left in the aftermath of the initial impact of this virus can enable us to calibrate our response better.

The early sprint as with most new pathogens, the initial impact was severe. Many factors contribute to such phenomena. The initial strains of a pathogen are usually more virulent. As they circulate, these strains are replaced by more benign ones due to the laws of natural selection. Secondly, emerging pathogens give rise to large number of cases in short time due to low levels of population immunity – it literally runs through the population causing high morbidity and mortality. And lastly, clinicians and public health experts grope in the dark as to the best way to manage and mitigate such occurrences. One of the major issues is the lack of high-quality real-time data to provide a comprehensive image of the events unfolding in India. Lack of data transparency, underreports, the number or fudges the data is the major problem to the scientific and medical fraternity to fight against Covid-19. Rely on anecdotal reports or simply on conjecture and hope cannot solve the problem.

According to report, two more variants have emerged that have a significant influence on this situation, which is cause for concern. We should assume any wave can hit anyone who is not vaccinated so we cannot take things for granted. Vaccination is still protective against viruses.

But sometimes there is an immune escape. We already learned lessons from the unfolding of the epidemic during the second wave of Covid-19 so there is an urgent need for an hour to take proper actions to mitigate the upcoming Covid-19 crisis.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi told in a virtual meeting that the country is administering a record 1.25 crore Covid-19 vaccination doses per day. PM Modi pointed out that this quantity is greater than the population of some countries. Today our country has administered more than a billion Covid jabs since it started its vaccination drive in January this year. It achieved this milestone in 278 days – the first vaccine was given on 16 January.It has fully vaccinated about 30% (291 million) of the eligible population and 707 million have had the first dose. India aims to fully vaccinate about a billion people by the end of 2021 but experts say the drive needs to pick up pace further to meet the target. This milestone makes India the second country to reach the one billion mark – China crossed it in June. Reaching the one billion mark in 278 days means that India, on an average, administered 3.6 million doses per day. However, the number of doses actually administered each day since January was not consistent, and varied widely.

On 17 September, India administered more than 20 million doses in a day in a record-breaking effort to mark Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 71st birthday. In October, India administered an average of 5.3 million doses per day. From 19 September to 18 October, the average daily doses given slightly improved to six million. India had a slow start when vaccinations were opened for some 960 million eligible people. Logistical problems and supply bottlenecks, vaccine hesitancy and a debilitating second wave of Covid-19 during this period made the rollout harder.

India is still around 900 million jabs away from a fully vaccinated adult population, with little less than two-and-a-half-months to spare on the target. Much will depend on levels of vaccine hesitancy and the availability of doses in the coming months. From a sluggish start, India massively ramped up its vaccination drive, with more than 61,000 public and private health facilities offering the jab.

There is more such interesting and thought-provoking stuff to savour in this issue. So, happy reading!

Thanks and regards

Amresh K Tiwary,

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