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COVID-19 deaths in India may double in coming weeks, forecasters warn: Report

India added 3.82 lakh fresh cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, the highest in the last three days.

May 05, 2021 / 02:41 PM IST
Image: AP

Image: AP

Even as India struggles with the second wave of coronavirus with daily infections reaching a high of over four lakh, several forecasters have warned of a potential worsening of the crisis with the death toll more than doubling from the current levels in the coming weeks.

A mathematical model used by a team at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru pegs the death toll at 404,000 by June 11, while another model by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington forecasts over a million deaths by the end of July, according to a Bloomberg report.

Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.

India added 3.82 lakh fresh cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, the highest in the last three days. The fatalities continue to be over 3,000 for an eighth consecutive day at 3,780, the biggest single-day increase. Total deaths have been recorded at 2.26 lakhs.

The medical infrastructure is struggling to take in the rapidly growing number of patients as their family and friends run around looking for hospital beds, oxygen and medicines.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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“Despite scaling up testing considerably, it’s still not enough to capture all the infected people,” said Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at the World Health Organisation, speaking on Bloomberg TV. “So the numbers, while very high, are likely an underestimate of the true numbers of infections,” she said. “It’s a grim situation.”

The United States currently has the highest number of deaths at 5,78,000.

The country has also opened the vaccination drive for adults between the age of 18-44 years from May 1, many states have announced that they are not in a position to do so anytime soon.

To break the chain of the virus, several states have imposed partial or complete lockdown restricting the movement of people. Bloomberg Economics had earlier lowered its growth projection for the year ending March 2022 to 10.7 percent from 12.6 percent.

“It could honestly get a lot worse, which is hard to imagine given how staggering the impacts have already been when you see 400,000 new cases each day and you know that that’s probably an underestimation,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, Maryland told the publication.
Moneycontrol News
first published: May 5, 2021 02:38 pm

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