India is showing a steady decline in the number of new COVID cases but this decline should not be taken for granted, said Member, (Health) of the NITI Aayog V.K. Paul on Friday. Speaking at a press conference, Dr Paul added that the coronavirus is mutating and “we can’t lower our guards”.
“Studies have also shown that children have equal susceptibility as adults so we have to be ready to ensure that we are in a position to cater to them in case numbers rise again,” he added.
Dr. Paul explained that a World Health Organisation and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (WHO-AIIMS) survey shows seropositivity in persons below and above 18 years of age is almost similar.
“`In persons above 18, the seropositivity rate is 67% and 59% in persons below 18. In urban areas, it is 78% in persons below 18 and 79% in above 18, while in rural areas, the seropositivity rate is 56% in persons below 18 years of age and 63% in persons above 18. The information show that the children are getting infected,” he said.
Highlighting the importance of vaccination, Dr. Paul said that there are now studies which prove that it reduced the chances of hospitalisation by 75-80% even after contracting COVID.
“It also reduced the risk of ICU admission and brings it down to 6% in vaccinated persons and oxygen requirement comes down to 8%. The study was done among health care workers who are a high risk group,” he said.
He added that the private sector is being encouraged to participate in the COVID vaccination drive. “Greater participation by this sector will ensure that we are able to cover a large population quickly,” he said.
The Health Ministry on Friday said India has registered almost 85% decline in daily new cases since the highest reported peak on May 7.
About 78.6% decline has been recorded in total active cases since the peak reported on May 10, the Ministry added.
“Step out of your home only when required and following COVID-appropriate behaviour should be a part of our life,” said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the Health Ministry.