Why Covid infection tally goes up and down, experts project true picture

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<br>In the last 24 hours, India has logged 9,062 new Covid-19 cases, a significant decline against the infections reported the previous day, as per the Union Health Ministry report on Wednesday. The new fatalities increased the nationwide death toll to 5,27,098. The nation had reported 15,040 new Covid infections with 29 deaths. In the last few days, the national Covid tally witnessed a continuous rise and decline.

"The virus is mutating and when the virus mutates, it may not be the same strain which caused the havoc like situation. There may be another strain too in circulation. We need genome sequencing at regular intervals so we could find out what strain is currently in circulation. We have to keep a watch on the data from sequencing", Dr Sunila Garg, Member Lancet Commission and Covid-19 Task Force, told IANS.

She told IANS that accordingly, the vaccine could be made as per the new circulating strain, because if we are vaccinated and the virus has mutated differently, the vaccine could not provide enough protection from the new strain. When we do not have the vaccine against circulating vaccines, we are not fully protected.

"As per the recent data of genome sequencing on August 1, out of total sequenced data, around 40 per cent were BA.2, 19 per cent BA.2.1.2, 30 per cent BA.2.75. And all three strains are transmissible. However, to know the true picture of the actual current condition of Covid infection, one day data of rise and decline is not enough. At least, a data of seven days will make the true picture of Covid. However, because of the low number of tests due to August 15 and other festive occasions, the tally seems to be declining," Dr Garg told IANS on the question of recent ups and downs of the Covid tally.

India reported a significant rise at 20,551 new Covid infections on August 5. However, the next day the tally declined to 19,406 cases and again to 18,738 on another day. India had 14,917 Covid cases on August 15. The next day on August 16, there was a marginal rise at 15,040 cases. The cases sharply declined to 9,062 cases August 17.

"Since antigen testing is being done at home, and with less people preferring to undergo testing, the reported case numbers will be an underestimation. Hospitalisation trends in each region will need to be monitored closely. The pattern of Covid-19 spread has always been stochastic, which means not uniform in all areas", said Dr Rajeev Jayadevan, Co-Chairman, National Covid 19 task force IMA, adding that the minor day to day fluctuations from logistical variations will get ironed out when we use a 7-day average.

–IANS<br>avr/bg

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