Meanwhile, India on Wednesday recorded 63,509 new Covid-19 cases and 730 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to data from the Union Health Ministry. The total caseload in the country stands at 72,39,390, including 8,26,876 active cases, 63,01,928 recovered cases and 1,01,586 deaths. Active coronavirus cases have remained below 9 lakh for six days in a row. The fatality rate was recorded at 1.53 per cent. Maximum deaths have occurred in the age group of 60 years and above (53 per cent) and lowest in the age group of below 17 (1 per cent) and 18-25 years (1 per cent).
During the weekly briefing, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan highlighted that a significant 35 per cent of deaths have occurred in the age group of 45-60 years, indicating that this age group is highly vulnerable, in the backdrop of resumption of economic activities.
Meanwhile, with active cases below 9 lakh for five consecutive days and the weekly positivity rate at 6.24 per cent, Niti Aayog member Dr V K Paul warned that the festive season and winter could likely result in a surge of cases if precautions are not taken.
India's Covid-19 tally at 72. 39 lakh; death toll stands at 1.10 lakh. Read the latest news and updates here.
At a Covid-19 centre in New Delhi. (Express Photo: Amit Mehra)
On Tuesday, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) chief said that with at least three cases of Covid-19 reinfection having been identified in the country, India is taking 100 days as the cut-off period in identification of reinfection of novel coronavirus cases.
Meanwhile, with the Covid pandemic not showing any sign of abating in the near future, insurance regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has allowed renewal, migration and portability of Covid-specific standard health products — Corona Rakshak, Corona Kavach and Group Corona Kavach policies.
Irdai said Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak policies of any tenure will be allowed to be renewed for further terms of three-and-a-half months, six-and-a-half months or nine-and-a-half months, as per the option exercised by policyholder. The renewal should be subject to the underwriting policy of the insurer, it said.
Coronavirus India Live Updates: Herd immunity or Covid-19 vaccines?
Once again, the debate over herd immunity has surfaced. This time, it was triggered by three well-known scientists -- Sunetra Gupta, an epidemiologist at Oxford University, Jay Bhattacharya, a professor at Stanford University Medical School, and Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University — who released a declaration, expressing “grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing Covid19 policies” of governments across the world, and recommended an approach called “Focussed Protection” based on the concept of herd immunity.
Herd immunity is when a sufficiently large proportion of the population is infected with a virus and generate natural immunity against the disease.
This declaration has garnered signatures of nearly 9,000 medical and public health scientists, and over 22,000 medical practitioners apart from close to four lakh other people.
In the wake of this, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released a statement saying herd immunity is “scientifically and ethically problematic”. WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference, “Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic. It is scientifically and ethically problematic.”
Ghebreyesus said the right way to reach herd immunity was by vaccinating more and more people.