India continues to witness a decline in the number of daily new COVID-19 cases at a time when the world is reporting a fresh surge of SARS-CoV-2 cases.
India reported only 1549 new cases on March 21. The World Health Organisation has announced that there has been an eight percent increase in the number of cases globally. In the last week, there were over 11 million new cases reported globally.
China reported its first COVID related death after a period of one year and is now witnessing a spike in cases. The actual count of confirmed COVID-19 cases for the country becomes difficult to decipher as the Health Commission in the country maintains a separate count for asymptomatic confirmed cases and those that had symptoms.
The regions of the country bordered by Russia and North Korea are reporting new cases. China has a stringent policy of completely locking down cities whenever a spike is noted in any of the districts across the country.
Neighbouring Hong Kong has been reporting an increase in cases from the last week of February. The country reported close to 77,000 cases on March 3 and is reporting over 10,000 new COVID-19 cases daily ever since.
According to Maria Van Kerkhove, the COVID-19 lead for the WHO, there is a lot of prevailing misinformation suggesting that the pandemic is over. At the recent weekly press conference, the scientist also said that this misinformation is leading to a false sense of ease among people who are not following social distancing or masking measures. She added that the BA.2 sub-lineage of the Omicron variant was still leading to an increase in cases, globally.
This BA.2 sub-lineage also known as stealth omicron is the major cause for increase in cases across European and a few Asian countries.
Even After Vaccination, Countries Report COVID Surge
South Korea that was being praised for its handling of the COVID pandemic in 2020 and 2021 is now reporting over two lakh COVID-19 cases where it reported over six lakh cases on March 17. The health systems in the country have fully vaccinated close to 88 percent of the country's population.
Despite extensive vaccination, the country just like Vietnam, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom continues to report a high number of COVID positive cases.
In the last 24 hours, Vietnam has reported over 1.6 lakh new cases, Germany reported over 90,000 cases, United Kingdom reported over 92,000 new cases, and France reported over 81,000 new cases.
All these countries have high vaccination rates and also people who have received booster shots for the same.
The United States is showing a reduction in cases but the country is on alert currently as it tends to follow Europe in the trends that the world has seen so far. US tends to follow Europe in the resurgence of cases as has been seen in the past three years.
The Threat Of BA.2 For India
India witnessed its third wave in the month of February where officials from the National Centre for Disease Control and Prevention stated that the Omicron variant was driving the surge in the country.
The officials also stated that it was the BA.1 variant that was responsible for the rise in cases. Even then, Maria Van Kerkhove had said that the end of the pandemic was not near as vaccine immunity was waning and the virus was evolving.
At that time, a few countries had started reporting the presence of the BA.2 sub-lineage. Countries have also recently reported the Deltacron variant that has features of both the severe delta variant and the recent rapid Omicron variant.
India has started to relax its lockdown measures. People, however, have attained pandemic fatigue and are not following social distancing, masking, and hygienic norms. But, a large proportion of the Indian population, unlike South Korea already has vaccine induced or virus induced antibodies. They also have natural immunity such as T cells that are generated in the body once the vaccine or virus are exposed to the body.