But misinformation has unfold in India — and typically been accepted as reality. Here’s our fact verify of some frequent myths and misconceptions round India’s second wave.
Doctors in India have anecdotally reported seeing more young people presenting with Covid-19 signs.
All that has led to a widespread perception the second wave is disproportionately affecting young people.
Fact verify: Government statistics present young people should not being any worse hit in the course of the second wave than they had been within the first.
During the primary wave, about 31% of sufferers had been aged under 30, mentioned V Okay Paul, the chairman of India’s Covid job power, at a press convention on April 19. During the second wave, that determine has solely elevated marginally to 32%.
Around 21% of sufferers had been between 30 and 45 in the course of the first wave — that proportion hasn’t modified in the course of the second wave, in accordance with authorities statistics.
It’s an analogous state of affairs in relation to deaths. Last 12 months, 20% of deaths had been people aged 50 or youthful. This time, it is 19%.
“There is no overarching excess risk of young people becoming Covid positive,” Paul mentioned. “We don’t see a shift in the age prevalence of Covid-19 disease overall in the country.”
Dr. Chandrasekhar Singha, a senior lead guide in pediatric essential care at Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital in New Delhi, mentioned he’s seeing more kids contaminated in the course of the second wave than the primary. But, he mentioned, it was doable that the second wave had the identical proportion of kid Covid sufferers — the distinction this time may very well be that the general totals are far higher.
He urged dad and mom to not panic if their kids take a look at constructive — so long as they aren’t obese and don’t have any underlying respiratory drawback, most kids do not want any oxygen remedy or hospital admission, he mentioned.
Some variants present in India, together with the UK pressure or B.1.1.7, are additionally more transmissible, that means they’re simpler to move on. The UK variant, first recognized in September 2020, is now more dominant than the Indian variant in Delhi and north India.
Are absolutely vaccinated healthcare staff being contaminated?
No vaccine on this planet will stop infections in each particular person, however native media has reported that some medical doctors working in hospitals have examined constructive after being absolutely vaccinated.
That has raised public concern that India’s vaccines may not be as efficient in opposition to the brand new variant that was recognized in late March, because the second wave accelerated.
Fact verify: Again, the statistics do not bear that out.
Of the 15 million people who obtained each doses of Covishield — the Indian manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine — 5,014 people have examined constructive, or 0.03%.
Until Saturday, India had solely rolled out its vaccine to frontline staff and essentially the most susceptible.
Are new variants behind the second wave?
On March 24, the Indian Ministry of Health revealed in a information launch that “VOCs (variants of concern) and a new double mutant variant have been found in India.”
Fears shortly grew that the brand new variant, known as B.1.617, is likely to be why the second wave has hit the nation a lot more durable and quicker than the primary. One of the largest issues was whether or not the variant may have the ability to bypass the vaccines being rolled out nationwide.
Fact verify: Scientists are nonetheless researching the brand new variant, and there may be not sufficient info to find out whether or not it’s driving the surge in circumstances.
For that, the nation would want a lot higher genomic surveillance. Experts consider a rustic must conduct genetic sequencing for 5-10% of all Covid take a look at samples to evaluate how a lot variant exercise is happening. India has sequenced lower than 1% of its circumstances, in accordance with Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.
Some Indian epidemiologists have steered there’s a correlation between the rise in variants and the rise in circumstances. But it is also vital to notice that different variants are at play — as an example, the UK variant.
The time period “double mutant” refers back to the variant having two spike protein mutations. One of the mutations, known as L452R, has additionally been present in different variants that confer some stage of immune resistance. The second mutation, known as E484Q, could also be just like one other mutation discovered within the South Africa variant.
However, merely having these mutations doesn’t essentially imply it’s both more transmissible or more deadly — we simply haven’t got that info but.
Can conventional cures shield you from an infection?
Since the pandemic started, quite a lot of supposed therapies and preventative measures have surfaced in India, with some promoted by officers and celebrities — regardless of little proof of their effectiveness.
In March final 12 months, a Hindu group hosted a cow urine ingesting occasion in Delhi, reportedly attended by 200 people. That month, a pacesetter within the nation’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Assam state advised the state meeting that cow urine and dung “could be used to treat coronavirus.”
One influential yoga guru launched a natural concoction this February, claiming it cured Covid and was licensed by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Fact verify: There has been little proof that native cures can stop or deal with Covid, and medical our bodies have refuted a number of of those practices.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), a nationwide group of medical doctors, has additionally criticized high-profile figures for selling unproven therapies, saying it’s unethical and undermines the necessity for essential measures like vaccinations.
Could a greater vaccine rollout have prevented the coronavirus outbreak?
So far, simply over 2% of India’s 1.3 billion people have been absolutely immunized with one among two vaccines — considerably decrease than the United States, the place 30% of the inhabitants are absolutely immunized.
The gradual rollout has attracted criticism, with some arguing it could have contributed to the second wave.
Fact verify: While vaccines supply people a point of safety, India doubtless would have seen an enormous improve in circumstances anyway as a result of phased nature of its vaccination program, mentioned Michael Head, a senior analysis fellow in international well being on the University of Southampton’s Clinical Informatics Research Unit.
Like most different international locations, India vaccinated its most susceptible residents first, together with the aged and frontline well being care staff. But young, match people who can journey look like the largest spreaders of Covid, he mentioned — “and they would probably be the lowest priority in terms of vaccination.”
“So I think you really need to see 50-60% of the population vaccinated before you can really start to demonstrably show the impacts on transmission,” he added. “Because you’re only then getting to the populations who transmitted the most, which is the young people, even if they’re not so severely affected.”
“I think India would have had to be a lot further with its rollout for these outbreaks to have been avoided, assuming all other populations remain the same,” Head mentioned.
To date, the federal government has bought no less than 205.5 million doses, in accordance with knowledge from the Duke Global Health Innovation Center — putting India within the high 10 Covid-19 vaccine consumers on this planet.
Could fumes from crematoriums trigger air pollution?
New Delhi alone is cremating more than 600 Covid victims a day, with funeral pyres burning nonstop via the evening. That has brought on some to wonder if the fumes are contributing to India’s air air pollution.
Fact verify: Several areas in New Delhi have reported unhealthy ranges of air air pollution in the course of the second wave, and it is believable that the cremations are affecting air high quality.
Previous research have proven that open-air, wood-based cremations launch small quantities of carbon monoxide and different pollution.
The quantities being launched by the cremations are “not significant enough to raise an alarm bell,” mentioned Vimlendu Jha, an environmental and social activist primarily based in Delhi. He added that “we are used to high levels of (air pollution),” and although the present air high quality is poor, it is common by “Indian standards.”
Some context: Air air pollution has all the time been a giant drawback in India. Major elements embrace smog from burning crop fields, vehicular emissions, energy vegetation, and air pollution from building websites.
“Many of the pre-existing conditions that increase the risk of death in those with Covid-19 are the same diseases that are affected by long-term exposure to air pollution,” mentioned the research.
NCS’s Esha Mitra contributed reporting from New Delhi.