Sharmili Mallick

The Delta variant of Covid-19, reportedly first found in India, has been rapidly spreading across many countries including Russia, the United Kingdom, China, Singapore, Ukraine and other countries in Eastern Europe.

At this juncture, Director of Public Health Dr Niranjan Mishra, said there was no need to worry as India has already faced the onslaught of the Delta variant during the second wave of the pandemic. Besides, the high prevalence of antibodies in people on account of the mass vaccination programme, which is still underway, will also help prevent the spread of the contiguous mutant of the Covid-19 virus.

However, chances of the breakout of a third wave are not yet over, and therefore, people have to be extra cautious and should strictly abide by the Covid appropriate protocols, said Mishra.

“Delta variant has been the dominant variant in most of the cases that have been detected in China and European countries in the last few days. Delta variant is not new to us and it already existed in India. At least 99 per cent of the Covid-19 samples sent for genome sequencing during the second wave contained delta variants. People have now developed antibodies against the variant and there is no need to worry as such,” stated Mishra.

“India had already faced the severity of Delta variant in the second wave. Looking at things from another perspective, the first and the second wave came late in India as compared to other countries. Therefore, we cannot guarantee a third wave won’t hit India. We have to stay alert,” cautioned the State Public Health Director.

On the other hand, amid the rising cases of Covid-19 cases in China and European countries, despite massive vaccinations, the Director of Family Welfare and nodal officer of Covid vaccination, Dr Bijay Panigrahi appealed to the people to get the second vaccine as soon as possible.

“At least 80 per cent of the targeted population in Odisha have been administered the first dose while 37 per cent have taken both doses of the vaccine. The ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ vaccination campaign launched in the State on November 2 aims to inoculate all those who have not taken their second dose or are due for the second jab. It also focuses on people who have not been administered their first jab,” informed Panigrahi.

Speaking to OTV, renowned health expert Dr Niroj Mishra said, “Extensive community transmission took place in India during the second wave due to which partial herd immunity was created. The next 15 days post-Diwali will determine whether India is in the endemic stage. If cases do not rise in the coming few days, this will mean the country is in an endemic stage.”