India should prepare for the worst with Omicron

India has been witnessing a surge in cases in many States. There is no reason to believe that the variant will behave differently in India or that Indians have some unknown shield of protection against the virus. The Omicron variant is galloping across the U.S. and many countries in Europe at a pace never seen … Continue reading India should prepare for the worst with Omicron

Is the current testing, sequencing strategy missing Omicron cases in India?

Positive samples sent for genome sequencing to confirm for the Omicron variant are almost primarily restricted to international passengers. Not only are the testing rates across India low, most of the RT-PCR test kits used in most States do not have the S-gene target in the primer, which can detect the BA.1 sub-lineage. Also, the … Continue reading Is the current testing, sequencing strategy missing Omicron cases in India?

Why countries have abandoned the ‘Zero Covid’ strategy

When SARS-CoV-2 virus began spreading globally early last year, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, like mainland China, adopted a “Zero COVID” strategy. A few countries have already abandoned this strategy with the Delta variant changing the ground reality. When SARS-CoV-2 virus began spreading globally early last year, Singapore, Vietnam, … Continue reading Why countries have abandoned the ‘Zero Covid’ strategy

Waving testing requirement for the fully vaccinated is an ill-considered decision: Giridhara Babu

Since fully vaccinated people too can get infected and transmit the virus to others, waving off RT-PCR testing, as done by the Maharashtra government, can lead to unnecessary spread of the virus. The decision has not been taken from a public health perspective but more to reduce inconvenience to passengers travelling by air, says Dr. … Continue reading Waving testing requirement for the fully vaccinated is an ill-considered decision: Giridhara Babu

Can some States serve as a bellwether for the third wave in India?

Dr. Tarun Bhatnagar, Senior Scientist at Chennai’s National Institute of Epidemiology, Dr. Gautam Menon, Professor of Physics and Biology at Ashoka University and Dr. Giridhara Babu, epidemiologist at the Public Health Foundation of India, Bengaluru explain the advantages and shortcomings of using a sustained increase in new cases in three States to warn the beginning of … Continue reading Can some States serve as a bellwether for the third wave in India?

Do excess deaths in four States suggest COVID-19 mortality has crossed one million in India?

Based on modelling studies, death underreporting in the first wave was estimated to of two-five times the official count. Underreporting is predicted to be massive in the second wave. Now, excess deaths in the order of five times and more as recorded in the Civil Registration System in four large States of Madhya Pradesh, Andhra … Continue reading Do excess deaths in four States suggest COVID-19 mortality has crossed one million in India?

Can vaccination of all adults slow down the second wave?

It is very much possible to slow down the pace of virus spread by vaccinating all above 18 years. However, with vaccine shortage in many States, the number of daily vaccinations in the last week has been dipping. Since April 1 the number daily fresh cases has been accelerating rapidly with the number of cases … Continue reading Can vaccination of all adults slow down the second wave?

India will have 8-10 lakh cases a day when second wave peaks in mid-May, says Bhramar Mukherjee

Even when we saw the uptick in mid-February, we were dismissive and continued with data denial. The nonchalance, negligence, complacency and hubris cannot be ignored. We have estimated death underreporting by a factor of two-five in the first wave. Now with the surge, the reporting infrastructure has probably eclipsed dramatically. So I expect the underreporting … Continue reading India will have 8-10 lakh cases a day when second wave peaks in mid-May, says Bhramar Mukherjee

How can India contain the second wave?

In a conversation I moderated, Dr. Gautam Menon, Professor of Physics and Biology at Ashoka University and Dr. Giridhara Babu, epidemiologist at the Public Health Foundation of India, Bengaluru and a member of the Karnataka COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee discuss some possible options available to contain the second wave. Edited excerpts: After daily new COVID-19 … Continue reading How can India contain the second wave?

India will add four million more cases by May 1, says Giridhara Babu

A small proportion of the population might have reinfections due to waning antibodies. With newer areas seeing the surge in cases, we cannot rule out older variants spreading to these areas. There may be a dual problem facing the country. The old and newer variants might be in circulation in the uninfected regions in an … Continue reading India will add four million more cases by May 1, says Giridhara Babu