Why Is There A New Covid Increase? Experts Discuss If It’s Time To Wear A Mask


Grim memories of the epidemic that kept us home and engulfed in terror for two years have returned due to an increase in the number of daily COVID cases and mask advice issued by various states. In the last 24 hours, 358 instances of COVID-19 have been recorded nationwide, with 300 of those cases occurring in Kerala.

During this time, complications with COVID-19 claimed the lives of six individuals. The Union Health Ministry reports that there are 2,669 current cases of COVID-19 throughout the nation.

Alarms were raised by yesterday’s daily Covid tally of 614 instances, which was the most since May. The COVID variation known as JN.1 is the cause of this surge in infections.

Although JN.1 is categorized by the World Health Organization as a “variant of interest,” the data that is presently available indicates that there is not a significant risk associated with it. “Despite this, with the onset of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, JN.1 could increase the burden of respiratory infections in many countries,” the World Health Organization said in a post on X.

The former top scientist of the WHO, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, discussed the most recent wave of COVID-19 infections  She advised against writing off COVID-19 as a regular cold due to the disease’s long-term repercussions as well as the fact that some individuals get quite sick from it.

When asked whether there was a chance that the 30% of pneumonia cases in Kochi hospitals that tested positive for COVID may repeat in other regions of India, she said, “We’ve been through this many times before, as you know, over the last four years.” This is in line with our expectations and what the WHO had previously discussed.”

The JN.1, a sub-variant of Omicron, is a novel variety that has been observed. Ideally, it will act more or less like Omicron, which was rather gentle. However, each new variation acquires certain characteristics that make it more transmissible.

It has the ability to sidestep or bypass the systemic antibody reactions that are now in place. As a result, it may spread like wildfire, infecting those who have already contracted the sickness,” the speaker said.

“It’s very different from the common cold, not just because people getting severely ill with acute Covid pneumonia, but also because of the long-term effects of Covid,” Dr. Swaminathan cautioned those who were comparing the newer Covid versions to the common cold.

“And I think we have enough data now from around the world to know that people who have suffered from Covid and, particularly those who have repeat infections, are more likely to get, for example, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, dementia, depression, mental health problems, prolonged fatigue, and muscle pain… inability to go back to their usual state of functioning,” she continued.

“So I would say let’s not take it lightly,” Dr. Swaminathan said. It is much preferable to prevent the illness if you can do so than to get it and run the danger of long-term Covid consequences.”

The National Indian Medical Association Covid Task Force Co-Chairman, Dr. Rajeev Jayadevan, told NDTV that although vaccinations may have prevented Covid since the last wave, variations that vary significantly raise concerns.

JN.1, for instance, is not a variety that is only a step forward. This version is a few steps ahead. In genetics, we refer to it as the “saltation event,” which is essentially a series of mutations that arise quickly all at once,” he said.

He gave the following advice on masked up: “I would say it’s safer to wear a mask if you are trapped in a situation where it’s ventilated, closed, crowded, you feel the air is still, and there are people around you.” Put on a mask or at the very least, pull down your windows if you are traveling in a car with a lot of strangers.”

The JN.1 variety, according to Dr. Swaminathan, causes fever, coughing, taste and smell loss, and loss of scent. She also listed several warning indicators, including a persistently high temperature, difficulty breathing, exhaustion, an inability to eat, and a propensity to throw up.

In addition to emphasizing that ill patients should wear masks to protect others, Dr. Swaminathan advised persons who are susceptible to diseases to cover themselves in crowded areas. She advised employing pulse oximeters on the vulnerable population.

In an effort to maintain composure, the Union Health Ministry convened a high-level assessment of the state of affairs in India and made plans to address any surge brought on by the novel Covid version.

It is “important to be alert and prepared against new and emerging strains of the COVID-19 virus,” according to Health Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya. He urged all states to maintain vigilance, increase monitoring, and make sure they had enough supplies, including oxygen cylinders and medications.

In light of the rise in Covid infections, the Chandigarh government has issued an advise urging residents to wash their hands often and use masks in crowded and enclosed areas.

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