The COVID-19 pandemic has been evolving since its onset giving rise to multiple scientific studies and assumptions as well. Just when the NITI Aayog and other such bodies of importance were warning the nation about the coming of a severe third wave, the Chief Scientist of the WHO (World Health Organisation), Dr. Soumya Swaminathan in one of her statements said that India might be entering into the Endemic Stage Of COVID.
This has left us Indians wondering what this new statement means. Don’t worry though, it’s nothing we don’t know already. “Entering into the Endemic stage of COVID” means that the Indian population is learning to live with the virus.
But what does the word “Endemic” mean?
An endemic is the coming of any diseases that continues to stay present in particular areas. Few common examples of endemic diseases are Malaria, Dengue, Chicken Pox, and other such diseases which aren’t novel and whose rate of infection in any given area are predictable.
While talking to journalist Karan Thapar from the news website The Wire, Dr. Swaminathan said, “We may be entering some kind of stage of endemicity where there is low level transmission or moderate level transmission going on but we are not seeing the kinds of exponential growth and peaks that we saw a few months ago. Given the size of India and heterogeneity of population and immunity status in different parts of the country, it is “very very feasible” that the situation may continue like this with ups and downs in various parts of the nation.”
She also added that groups/areas who were least affected by the first and second wave or places where there is a considerable low vaccination rate are more vulnerable to infection during the third wave.
Dr Swaminathan also shed light on the third wave stating that though it is being predicted that children will be more susceptible to infection, they will have mild illness and there will be very few cases of death among children. She also added, “It will be impossible to predict when, where the third wave will be upon us and if at all a third wave will come. However, you can make an educated guess on some of the variables that have an impact on transmission.”
Many health experts have stated the possibility of COVID-19 becoming endemic, however, the birth of multiple variants still stand in the way of this possibility becoming a confirmation. To answer the questions which each of us has had since the pandemic hit us of when will all this end, Dr. Swaminathan has said, “By the end of 2022 we would be in that position that we have achieved vaccine coverage, say 70 per cent, and then countries can get back to normal”.