In early March, the number of people newly infected with the covid-19 virus in India surged. The country recorded as many as 314,835 new infections in the last 24 hours on Thursday, the largest daily increase in the world since the pandemic began.
Hospitals in northern and western India, including hospitals in New Delhi, have issued warnings that they can supply medical oxygen in just a few hours.
Scientists are confused and worried about this sharp rise. Since the decline that began in mid-September 2020, it is believed that Indians have acquired a certain degree of immunity due to illness, which could have prevented such a big wave.
But something similar to the incident previously recorded in Manaus happened.which is Serological research The blood of voluntary blood donors showed that in the first wave of the Brazilian city that did not specifically follow epidemiological measures, about 76% of the population was infected, which is enough to achieve collective immunity. Nevertheless, after seven months of calm, the virus began to spread rapidly again in November. Then, scientists determined that the new strains, the so-called British B.1.1.7 and Brazil’s P.1, spread faster and have the potential to bypass the defense system established by overcoming the old version of the virus.
In India, the number of newly infected people began to decline in September 2020, but a new wave of epidemics began in March 2021, which was much larger than the first wave. Serological tests on SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in December 2020 and January 2021 showed that in some areas of major cities in India, more than 50% of the population has been exposed to the virus, which should provide a certain degree of immunity , Manoj Murhekar told that the leader of the study was Nature, an epidemiologist at the National Institute of Epidemiology in Chennai. The data also shows that there are approximately 270 million people infected across the country, accounting for approximately one-fifth of India’s 1.4 billion population.
Zarir Udwadia, a clinician and pulmonary medicine expert at PD India Hospital, told Nature: “The second wave makes the previous one look like ripples in a bathtub.” He pointed out, The fact that there are few beds in the hospital is really a nightmare.
Shahid Jameel, a virologist at Ashoka University in Aonika, agrees that the intensity of the current is amazing.
Jameer said: “I was expecting a new wave of infection, but I didn’t even expect it to become so powerful.”
Interestingly, the first wave reaches its peak in September, while the new wave grows in April during the warmest season of the year, and this number is lowest in the Indian winter in January and February. The highest temperatures in hotspots such as Mumbai and New Delhi currently exceed 30°C. Studies have shown that the seasonality of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is not very obvious.
Scientists are considering several possible reasons for the record number in the second wave, including the emergence of particularly infectious variants, increased casual social interaction, and low vaccination rates.
This problem is likely to be the result of a combination of many factors, but understanding the key factors may be useful to governments trying to suppress or prevent similar new waves worldwide.
The problem may also be that the samples in serological studies are not representative. That is, the first wave may mainly attack the urban poor, so the analysis results in this group cannot represent the entire population, but may overestimate the exposure levels in other groups.
Gagandeep Kang, a virologist at the Christian Medical College of Vellore, India, said this may be one of the problems.