Tuesday, November 30, 2021
TelanganaHas Covid entered endemic phase?

Has Covid entered endemic phase?

Published: 5th Oct 2021 12:43 am

Hyderabad: The gradual but consistent decline in daily new Covid infections in Telangana, which has also become a pattern across the country, and absence of a new and more virulent form of SARS-CoV-2 virus, could be a clear indication that the pandemic now has entered an endemic phase, public health officials here believe.

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The daily average number of Covid infections in Telangana, which had declined steadily, now hovers between 150 and 160 positive cases while the total positivity rate is just 0.5 per cent. The near stagnant daily new infections, low positivity rate, high vaccination rate and natural immunity from SARS-CoV-2 among general public are indications that the pandemic might have entered an endemic stage, officials said.

A zoonotic disease with foreign origins but eventually becoming endemic is not new in Telangana. Senior doctors here point out that swine flu, which was first reported in Hyderabad way back in 2009, eventually became seasonal influenza, as people in the community developed immunity.

So what exactly does endemic mean? Endemic diseases are described as an outbreak of diseases that are often limited to a particular region. For instance, diseases like dengue, malaria, chikungunya and seasonal influenza are endemic diseases in Telangana and across the country.

Public health officials also point out that endemic diseases will have stable number of cases in a particular season with very rare instances of surges.

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Boston University Public Health, Dr Ellie Murray recently said on Twitter that endemic doesn’t mean there is no need to think about the Covid pandemic again. “It’s exactly the opposite! Endemic means someone is always thinking about Covid. Endemic means that public health is always monitoring the disease and always intervening when cases cross the acceptable level.”

Senior public health officials, however, have also made it clear that the pandemic is under complete control in the State. “There is a clear sign that Covid is under control in Telangana and people should not get worried about carrying on with their normal lives. However, Covid-appropriate behaviour like wearing masks, distancing and hand sanitisers should be a part of our lives,” maintains Director of Public Health Dr G Srinivasa Rao.

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