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40,845 cases of black fungus reported in India so far, says Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Harsh Vardhan, who chaired the 29th meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19, apprised the members that of the total numbers, 34,940 patients had Covid (85.5 percent), 26,187 (about 64.11 percent) were co-morbid for diabetes, while 21,523 (52.69 percent) of those infected were on steroids.

June 28, 2021 / 05:39 PM IST
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan (File photo).

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan (File photo).





A total of 40,845 cases of black fungus or mucormycosis have been reported in the country so far, of which 31,344 are rhinocerebral in nature, and the death toll from the infections stands at 3,129, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Monday.

Vardhan, who chaired the 29th meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19, apprised the members that of the total numbers, 34,940 patients had Covid (85.5 percent), 26,187 (about 64.11 percent) were co-morbid for diabetes, while 21,523 (52.69 percent) of those infected were on steroids.

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A total of 13,083 patients were in the age group of 18-45 years (32 percent), 17,464 were in the age group of 45-60 years (42 percent), while 10,082 (24 percent) patients were 60-plus years of age, a health ministry statement said.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

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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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Speaking on COVID-19 vaccination drive, Vardhan said, 'India has achieved another milestone in COVID-19 vaccination and has overtaken the US in total number of Covid vaccine doses administered so far. The US started vaccinating against Covid from December 14, 2020, whereas the drive was launched in India on January 16.'

Under the new policy of Covid vaccination, the Union government is procuring and supplying (free of cost) 75 percent of the vaccines being produced by the vaccine manufacturers in the country to states and union territories, he was quoted as saying in the statement.

Till Monday morning (8 am), 32,36,63,297 vaccine doses have been administered in various categories. Vardhan also presented a snapshot of India's efforts to contain COVID-19.

In the last 24 hours, India had only 46,148 Covid cases, while the active cases significantly declined to 5,72,994, he said.

The recovery rate has been steadily increasing and stands at 96.80 percent as on date and 58,578 recoveries were registered in the last 24 hours. Today is the 46th day in succession where our daily recoveries outnumbered new cases.

Our case fatality rate has been 1.30 percent, daily positivity rate at 2.94 percent and weekly positivity rate also stands at 2.94 percent, which has been consistently below 5 percent for 21 days now, Vardhan said.

The GoM strongly reiterated the importance of Covid-appropriate behaviour, the statement said.

Higher level of continued awareness building through sustained IEC campaigns was highlighted. NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul emphasised on the benefits of mask wearing and hand hygiene.

Dr Balram Bhargava, Secretary (Health Research) and Director General (ICMR), also cautioned that the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has still not subsided as 80 districts in the country still have high positivity, the statement said.

He advised against any laxity at this stage and also explained that vaccines have been found effective against the alpha, beta, gamma and delta variants of COVID-19.

Dr Sujeet K Singh, Director (National Centre for Disease Control), presented a detailed report on the trajectory of Covid in states and UTs.

He presented a granular analysis based on epidemiological findings of the trajectory of the pandemic in each state pointing out critical parameters like growth of cases, concentration of cases in particular districts and other trends like fatality and the variants of COVID-19 driving the infection in the affected states, the statement said.

Active Covid cases continue to be concentrated mainly in Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Odisha, which are reporting growth rate more than the national COVID-19 growth rate, it said.

While 19 states are reporting fatality figures in single digit (less than 10), four states of Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are reporting more than 100 deaths daily. Neerja Sekhar, Additional Secretary, Information and Broadcasting, apprised the GoM on how issues like vaccine hesitancy are being addressed through different mediums, the statement said.

Vardhan was joined by Hardeep S Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation, Shri Nityanand Rai, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Health.

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