NEW DELHI, May 19
India's daily spike has remained below 3 lakh for the third consecutive day.
However, the death toll has seen a huge jump with 4,529 more people succumbing to the disease in the last 24 hours. This is the biggest jump in daily fatalities ever recorded in the country.
The cumulative toll in the country now stands at 2,83,248, inching closer to the grim mark of 3 lakh.
As a sign of relief, the number of discharges surpassed the new infections by over a lakh in the same duration. As many as 3,89,851 were discharged across the country, taking the total number to 2,19,86,363.
As a result, there are 32,26,719 active cases in the country currently, marking a decline by over a lakh in the tally as compared to Tuesday when the number stood at 33,53,765.
India has been seeing a steady dip in active cases for the last two weeks.
While the daily has seen a steady decline in the past week, the Government said on Tuesday that children have been observed to be getting infected with Covid-19 and can be potential carriers of the disease.
The Government said that the covid-19 pandemic in India is shrinking as the country’s reproduction value (R) for covid-19 is below one now. R value shows the rate of infection spread.
However, the Government also cautioned that 98% of the population continues to be vulnerable.
According to the Union Health Ministry data, around 1.8% of the total population in India has been affected by Covid-19.
Tests conducted so far
India has tested 32,03,01,177 samples for Covid-19 until now, said the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Out of these, 20,08,296 samples were tested on Tuesday, marking a considerable increase in daily testing. The number stood at 18,69,223 on Monday.
Vaccination in India
The country has so far administered 18,58,09,302 anti-Covid jabs.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest scientific guidance that natural Covid-19 infection provides “strong" protection against reinfection for up to eight months, just as a vaccine protects against infection.
The global public health agency, however, said the emergence of ‘variants of concern’ that can evade immunity poses a challenge.
“Available tests and current knowledge do not tell us about the duration of immunity and protection against reinfection, but recent evidence suggests that natural infection may provide similar protection against symptomatic disease as vaccination," said WHO.
'Variant of concern'
The Covid-19 variant first identified in India has been classified as a “variant of concern" by Britain and the WHO.
This means that there is some evidence that it spreads more easily between people, causes more severe disease, or might be less responsive to treatments and vaccines.
Efficacy of vaccines
Top US health officials said on Tuesday that vaccines available in the United States are effective against the variant that was first detected in India.
"The modest neutralization resistance to the 617 antibodies suggests that the current vaccines that we are all using that we've been speaking about would be at least partially and probably quite protective," said Dr Anthony Fauci.
Making a presentation of his data and latest research on this issue, Dr Fauci said that both the variants B617 and B1618, that have been identified in India, have been neutralized with only a 2.5 fold diminution in titer.