Coronavirus in India: infection numbers are declining – experts are baffled

Status: 02/17/2021 2:46 PM

In India, the number of cases of corona has decreased for months. Experts don’t know exactly why. They suspect previous illnesses had something to do with it. But this is just a thesis.

Written by Bernd Much Poroska
ARD-Studio Delhi

Corona appears to be a thing of the past in India. On the streets and markets in Delhi and other cities, you can see more and more people who are no longer wearing masks, although there are heavy penalties. In any case, there is no talk of distance in the dense crowd of public life.

Bernd Much Poroska
ARD Studio New Delhi

Fewer and fewer new infections are found at testing centers in the country. It was another 11,000 in 24 hours, in September that number was 100,000.

There are no new cases in 188 counties

In a press conference in Delhi published by the Indian news agency ANI, Health Minister Harsh Vardan said that in many parts of India there are no more new cases of corona.

No new cases were recorded in 188 regions across the country in a week. 76 areas were free of new infections for 4 weeks.

This is a puzzle for doctors and scientists. Because at the start of the epidemic a year ago, it was feared that the Corona epidemic would have severe impacts in the country with about 1.3 billion people. Many Indians live in catastrophic health conditions. The concern was that the health system could collapse under the weight of the epidemic.

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Armed with cholera and typhus?

The development in rural areas is particularly interesting, where people live and work mainly outdoors. Srinath Reddy, President of the Public Health Foundation said:

If you look at developments in India, the numbers have been falling since September. We have very low infection rates, especially in rural areas, and about two-thirds of our population lives in rural areas.

Many Indians are exposed to diseases such as cholera, typhoid and tuberculosis during their lifetime. According to scientists, this may make them more resistant to a new virus.

Low number hypotheses

NDTV, epidemiologist Bahram Mukherjee, said there are a number of hypotheses that explain why the situation has evolved differently from what was expected. She says crossed immunity could play a role in genetics, health conditions and also the relatively young population. “The development in urban areas is particularly interesting, as every person is likely to be infected with the virus without showing symptoms.”

Coronavirus mutations have also been discovered in India. The impact of this on the epidemic in the country is still under investigation. Experts believe that the increase in cases in Kerala could have something to do with it. The state of South India has long been seen as a role model in dealing with the virus. But Kerala is now responsible for nearly half of the current coronavirus cases.

More infection through neglect

A significant increase in new infections has also been observed recently in Maharashtra: 4,000 within 24 hours. Rahul Pandit of Fortis Hospital, Mumbai, said on Indian TV that there are various reasons for this. On the other hand, local transportation has resumed and more people are now moving through the city.

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On the other hand, we are seeing more people between the ages of 50 and 70 being hospitalized. This age group has so far stayed at home in a disciplined manner and is now increasingly involved in public life as the situation improves. But the main reason is probably that more and more people are no longer observing the rules, no longer wearing masks and no longer turning away from them.

According to the Ministry of Health, nearly nine million people in India have now been vaccinated, either with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is manufactured at the Serum Institute in Pune, or with Covaxin developed in India. 300 million people will be immunized against the virus by the middle of the year.

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