The Maharashtra government and the BMC on Friday assured the Bombay High Court the situation related to the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was under control and that authorities were fully geared to meet any eventuality.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and M S Karnik was hearing a public interest litigation seeking judicious distribution of the state’s resources to tackle the pandemic.
Advocate Purnima Kantharia, appearing for the government, and senior counsel Anil Sakhare, appearing for the BMC, on Friday told the court the situation was under control and authorities were prepared to handle the effects of the Omicron variant of the virus if required in future.
The court, while accepting the statements, in its order said, "The state government as well as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation submit that the situation is 100 per cent under control and that the government is fully geared to meet any eventuality in future with regard to the spread of the omicron variant”.
Chief Justice Datta noted that, as per experts, the Omicron variant was not as lethal as the Delta variant of the virus but was spreading quicker.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
Sakhare told the court there was a hike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the first week of this month in Mumbai but the numbers were now decreasing.
As on date, there is no pressure on the hospitals and there is sufficient machinery in place.
There is enough oxygen stock available and also medicines, he said.