Scientists tried to explain why there is a steep decline in new cases in India

India was on track to overtake the United States to become the country with the highest reported COVID-19 caseload in the world, this only in September. However, over the past two months it has seen a steady and steep decline in new cases, despite little by way of restrictions to prevent the spread of infection.

Scientists say it’s a mystery, but they were able to come up with some explanations regarding the low infection rate.  The high prevalence of coronavirus antibodies from exposure to the virus could have helped to prevent the spread of infection. Shahid Jameel, a virologist and CEO of the Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance, said: “All data and models suggest that sufficient numbers of people in India have been exposed to the virus. This is the only logical explanation why, despite low compliance on masks and physical distancing – the latter not even possible in dense cities – India did not see a surge after the festive season in October and November.”

Moreover warm and wet climates seem to reduce the spread of COVID-19. “When the air is humid and warm, [the droplets] fall to the ground more quickly, and it makes transmission harder,” Elizabeth McGraw, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Pennsylvania State University said last year. Last India is a very young country as well. More than half the population is under 25. Those who are young are less likely to die of COVID-19 and are more likely to show no symptoms if infected.

India’s health minister, Harsh Vardhan, has claimed it has “successfully contained the pandemic” and “flattened its Covid-19 graph” as the country of 1.34 billion people reported just 12,000 new cases in the past 24 hours.  So far 2.4 million Indians, mostly frontline healthcare workers, have been vaccinated against coronavirus since the programme began on 16 January.

 

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