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Hitting a grim milestone, India recorded over 1 lakh Covid-19 cases yesterday, the highest single daily spike in infections since the coronavirus pandemic started last year. With this, India has become the third country after the US and Brazil to register a six-figure addition in COVID-19 cases in a single day.

According to doctors, the rise in cases in this wave has been several times faster than the first one. And what remains to unfold its magnitude and the total lives we will lose, both of which scientists predict to be more than our first one.

Mint spoke to Dr Trupti Gilada and Dr. Harish Chafle to understand about the present Covid-19 situation in the country.

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Here is what Dr Trupti Gilada, Consultant Infectious Disease Specialist, Masina Hospital said:

Reasons for resurgence of Covid

Wave with rise and decline in number of cases is a pattern seen in many viral pandemics, especially the respiratory ones. The cause of the resurgence in Covid cases may be multifactorial.

-Irresponsible human and societal behaviour

-Covid Fatigue

Asymptomatic Cases

Unmasking when most needed to mask

The possibility of a new variant:

Hesitancy in taking the vaccine

Despite having the vaccines ready in 2020, the vaccination drive only started in

Second wave more dangerous

The viral strain in this wave definitely is several times more transmissible than the previous one. This means that one infected individual can infect many more people and therefore, the exponential rise in the number of cases. But it definitely seems that the case fatality rate is lower than earlier. However, if the total number of cases continues to increase at the rate it is now, then even with lesser percentage of infected cases dying; we will still have a higher number of deaths in total.

Precautions to take

Irrespective of the transmissibility or virulence of the strain or the vaccine efficacy, we have three magic bullets that continue to be loyal to us if we are loyal to them:

Masking, Physical Distancing and Hand & Cough Hygiene.

Maharashtra the worst hit

Maharashtra was the first one to get hit probably because of the high population and population density and also rising numbers of gatherings due to festivities and weddings. But this very soon spills over to other states just like we saw in the first wave. Bihar and UP have shown a 15X growth in number of cases in the last 15 days and it only goes to show what our entire country is going to face going forward.

Here is what Dr. Harish Chafle, Consultant Intensivist, and Chest Physician, Global Hospitals, Mumbai said

How effective are Covid-19 vaccines against the new variants?

Vaccine is effective against all variants including UK and California variant only concern is the South African and Brazilian variant where there is doubt in vaccine efficacy.

Status of covid cases post-vaccine

The second wave is not co-related with vaccination. People coming to the hospital and then getting exposed is a possibility, but the cases aren’t rising due to vaccination.

Why does Covid cause breathing difficulty?

As we are all aware that the virus enters first through the respiratory tract. The most common Covid cases are that of Pneumonia. The lungs are like a sponge and Pneumonia causes inflation and swelling in the lungs, which causes the lungs to solidify and be less spongy. Balance between Ventilation and Perfusion ensures sufficient quantities of oxygen is absorbed by the lungs for the body. The ventilation part gets affected by the swelling and the solidification of the lungs, that is why its also called con-so-lidation of the lungs.

Another thing to note is that Covid infection is a Pro-thrombotic state ie. the body is prone to develop obstructions\clots in the vessels of the body. Therefore it affects the profusion, the absorbtion of the oxygen by the blood vessels. Therefore the infection casues disturbance in both Ventilation and Perfusion, causing less oxygen being absorbed by the lungs and hence people feel difficulty breathing. The lungs are not able to provide extra oxygen when ever required.

Go for the vaccine

Everyone must get vaccinated as this is how we will develop herd immunity and beat the virus in the long run, There are very few cases of side effects of the vaccine and they are temporary effects. Even if you do catch Covid after getting vaccinated, the severity of the infection will be very low. Getting vaccination is better than having the disease, it doesn’t matter if its Covishied or Covaxin, getting vaccinated is a must.

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