India Fears Delta Variant of Coronavirus

TTT New Delhi –  Indians have got into a tizzy after confronting two contradictory versions on Delta, a variant of Covid-19 which emerged first in India.  While the Chief of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), an Indian referral hospital of repute, Dr Randeep Guleria claimed that the third wave was unlikely to be as severe as the last one witnessed in May but cautioned people against undermining it. World Health Organisation Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, observed that the delta variant of the coronavirus was the most transmissible of the variants identified so far and was spreading rapidly among the unvaccinated populations’.

As it is, over 176 million people in almost 85 countries worldwide have been infected with the variant which has pressed the alarm button scaring the universe. 

With only 150 million people in India vaccinated of the 1200 million-plus population, completing the task of inoculating the entire country seems to be a Herculean task but not impossible if the erratic supply of the vaccines is smoothened and reaches the over two dozen Indian states. 

India has already seen the Delta variant permeating the five states in the country which have propelled the Central government to brace its medical structure before it repeats the catastrophic scenes of the second wave of the Covid pandemic. 

An Indian medical practitioner, Dr. Jagdish Tomar, told TTT that the Covid-19 safety protocols have to be strictly followed as the Delta variant can spread rapidly causing disaster. “Children are also not safe”, he said and added that while there is no shortage of medical oxygen, and special Covid beds have been earmarked, the people should take due precautions, particularly in crowded places. 

Sydney, the largest city in Australia, has gone for a two-week lockdown after Delta variant infections swelled among the population.  The Australian government called the variant a ‘very formidable foe’ while the New South Wales  State Health Minister Brad Hazzard pointed out that no matter what steps the country was taking at the moment, the virus seemed to understand how to counter-attack. 

Most Indians have lost faith in the government’s ability to counter the Delta onslaught as the details of the medical infrastructure were under wraps and thus causing a wave of fear across India. Speaking to TTT,  Indian broadcast journalist, Devendra Chopra, said that the government should speed up building the medical infrastructure to fight the virus variant. “I am confident that we will fight it out successfully,” he added.

Former Union Health Secretary, K. Sujatha Rao, has come down heavily on the ruling Indian government and in her write-up in a reputed national English language daily said that ‘A deeper reflection, however, shows that the convoluted policy is not “muddled” but well thought through to serve three objectives for the party in power: one, deflect attention from own mismanagement onto the states, as evidenced by the frontal attacks on them for their “inability” to procure vaccines for those between 18-45 years.’

She further wrote that what we saw now was ‘the embarrassing charade of states running around suppliers, competing against each other and the private sector, as if we are many countries and not one. We see governments’ vaccination centers shutting down while the private hospitals sell vaccines for prices between Rs 850 to Rs 2,000 per dose. This situation does not seem to worry the powers that be’.

Going by the guestimates, the entire Indian population would be inoculated by the end of 2021 and till then, the swords hang above the population particularly those falling in the bracket of 18 and 44 years. 

The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines last week that vaccinated people could gather indoors with others who are fully vaccinated without taking extra precautions and vaccinated people of a family could intermingle with an unvaccinated member of their family without the safety protocols if the unvaccinated person was healthy and did not pose a risk for developing a serious case of Covid -19.  CDC director, Rochelle Walensky, said that everyone including those having been vaccinated should continue with all mitigation strategies when in public settings because it was necessary till herd immunity was reached.

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