The new unlocking guidelines easing the 50% cap on movie halls and movement restrictions on senior citizens indicates that authorities are now confident that India is winning the war against the Covid pandemic. Fresh cases have been falling consistently since September and hospitals are now focussing again on routine surgeries and ailments that got brushed aside by Covid.
The evidence of high seropresence of antibodies in cities like Delhi also points to the possibility that many places are nearing herd immunity. Serosurveys should be done regularly to gain a better understanding of the disease. Understanding how the virus transmitted to so many individuals who were possibly asymptomatic is needed to understand how the Indian trajectory has been different from other countries.
The improving vaccination numbers indicate that India may be surmounting the initial glitches. Studies indicating that Covaxin is effective against some mutations like the UK strain come as a boost for the Indian vaccine programme. But there other, even more hazardous strains afoot. More trial data should be proactively released in the coming days to inform the public and tackle the pockets of resistance to vaccines. The best antidote to misinformation is authentic and substantive information.
Chances of a full opening up of the economy by summer have brightened. Yet, it is also important to remember that Indians took the hardest economic hit last year. The next big steps would be restoring train travel and schools. The forthcoming month should be used to scale up vaccination, which should include permitting vaccines in the private market, so that India can be among the first big countries to come out of this public health emergency.
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