Any Xmas, New Year complacency may fuel short case surge early Jan: Experts

By Ashish Srivastava
New Delhi, Dec 24 : As the year of the pandemic seems set to conclude with a week of festivities which could kick-off from Christmas, health experts apprehend that a possible coronavirus case surge, although shorter than earlier ones, may hit the national capital in the first two weeks of 2021.

As per the experts, traits observed among the public such as a wilful ignorance to Covid-appropriate behaviour, pandemic fatigue with health directions, travel and impulse to indulge in large gatherings for celebrations likely to exacerbate the disease burden in Delhi which might lead to a short surge of the cases.

Dr Neha Gupta, Consultant, Infectious Diseases at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, said that though Christmas and New Year are not majorly celebrated in India, the laxity in this period can possibly emerge as the next surge in the capital city.

“The major reason for the surge in Delhi was ditching the Covid appropriate behaviour. The festivities which started from Durga Puja were merely a trigger. Since Christmas and New Year is coming, it is still probable that people will go for shopping, intermingle more than often, and will travel to holiday destinations and hometowns as well… the situation that could be predicted is that there is a possibility of surge in cases within the first two weeks of January,” she warned.

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“However, it will be short and wane off earlier than previous ones,” Gupta added.

Dr Geeta Mehta, former director of microbiology at Centre-run Lady Hardinge Medical College, said that the laxity in following social distancing norms has resulted in a surge in the past and could repeat in the future as well.

“Gatherings and crowding in market places for Christmas and New Year where the recommended social distancing cannot be maintained, raises the potential for transmission and a surge in cases,” she added.

The third surge is believed to have started around October 28 when Delhi witnessed a sudden spike in cases that started to emerge regularly. In November alone, the capital city reported 2,663 deaths and 1,83,665 cases of Covid-19.

The experts had observed multiple reasons which played roles in leading the third surge. The spike in cases had coincided with deepening winters, rising pollution and busy festival season where festivities of Karva Chauth, Diwali and Chhath Puja had lined up.

While concurring with the health experts about a possible surge in cases, Dr J.C. Suri, Director, Pulmonology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at Fortis Hospital in Vasant Kunj, said that it would not be as bad as the previous ones and won’t last long either.

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“The surge would not be as bad as last time but there might be a short increase for a few days. We need to follow public health measures and need to stay vigilant,” he added.

However, Dr Harshal R. Salve, Associate Professor at Centre for Community Medicine, AIIMS, said that the chances of another peak in Delhi is less likely as more than a quarter of the population in Delhi has got infected with Covid and developed antibodies.

“The last few weeks reflect a constant decline in positivity rate and daily infections. While there are apprehensions about surge in cases during the upcoming festive season at the year end, it is less likely to happen as more than a quarter of the population in Delhi has got infected with Covid and developed antibodies against it, as shown in the latest sero-survey,” he said.

“Nonethless, Covid appropriate behaviour such as proper mask use, frequent hand washing and maintaining distance in close space are necessary to prevent vulnerable population and keep mortality due to Covid at very low levels,” he advised.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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