Covid will start becoming endemic in India in next 6 months: Expert
Covid will start becoming endemic in India in the next six months, a top expert has said, asserting that a new variant can't alone bring a third wave of infections.
"This pandemic has defied most of our predictions but in the next six months, we will approach endemic status," Sujeet Singh, the Director of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
Dr Singh said Covid becoming endemic would mean the infection becoming more manageable and easier on the health infrastructure.
"If the mortality and morbidity is under control, then we can manage the disease," he said, adding that Kerala, which had a large susceptible pool, is also emerging from the raging Covid crisis it was battling a few weeks ago.
Vaccination is the biggest protection against the coronavirus, stressed Singh.
"75 crore people have been vaccinated. If vaccine effectiveness is 70 per cent, then around 50 crore people in India have got immunity. A single dose gives 30-31% immunity. So the 30 crore people, who have received a single dose, are also immunised," he said.
The expert warned that even after vaccination people need to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. Breakthrough infections, or fully-vaccinated people getting infected, will happen in 20-30 per cent of cases, Dr Singh said.
"Breakthrough infections are also because of the new variants. Scientists say within 70 to 100 days of vaccination the immunity level starts dropping," he explained.
It is through more exposure to the virus and vaccination that the infections would reduce, Singh said.
According to the NCDC chief, there is no new variant in India. The C1.2 and Mu strains that are currently raising concern have not been found in the country.
"Just a new variant cannot cause a third wave. The factor will be a mix of behaviour and antibodies. There is some worry because of the festival season," Singh said.