Experts whom TOI spoke to said it could take another one to three months before any change. “The Covid-19 infection is barely two years old. We are still studying its patterns,” said Dr Samiran Pande, head (epidemiology division), ICMR.
Recently, however, Christian Medical College professor Dr Gagandeep Kang told TOI that the coronavirus has become endemic in India and people will have to live with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. A couple of months ago, WHO chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan said there was “some sort of endemicity” in India.
The third wave, which rose steeply but fell quickly too, and was milder in comparison to the second wave caused by the Delta variant, underlined Swaminathan’s observation in a way, said a doctor from a public hospital in Mumbai. “There has been widespread exposure to the coronavirus and in some cities such as Mumbai, over 95% of the population is fully vaccinated. The coronavirus will hence not be able to cause worldwide havoc, but cause seasonal and localised outbreaks,” he said.
But Dr Shashank Joshi, a member of the Covid-19 task force, said it would be premature to say we have reached the endemic stage. “Terms such as herd immunity and endemicity make for good narratives, but we have to go by facts and evidence,” he said. At the moment, the third wave is declining across the country. “In another two to four weeks, it will be at the lowest. This is when we study three details: assess the degree of immunity offered by the natural infection and that offered by the vaccines. We need to look at the dominant strains in circulation in the country for the next two to six weeks, and closely study any hotspot that may emerge,” said Joshi.