Has COVID Become Endemic in Delhi? It's Here to Stay, Say Ex
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2021 was welcomed with open arms as the year things could go back to the ‘old normal.’ On Sunday, 7 March, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said that COVID-19 was nearing an endemic phase in the national capital. A disease becomes endemic when it becomes a regular and expected part of the population, region or environment, for example like chickenpox which occurs at a predictable rate.

First let’s break down the jargon. Virologist Dr Jameel explains, “With increasing exposure viruses become less virulent and adapt to infect at lower levels and do that periodically. Mutations are part of the process. This is called becoming endemic to a population. Endemic means present all the time.

Satyender Jain said, “Coronavirus is nearing an endemic phase in Delhi. Experts say some cases continue to occur in the endemic phase. Delhi witnessed a swine flu outbreak around 10 years ago, but still some cases are reported every year. Coronavirus is not going to end completely, we will have to learn to live with it.”

As per the US’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Endemic refers to the constant presence and/or usual prevalence of a disease or infectious agent in a population within a geographic area.” This may not be the desired level of disease - which is zero - but the expected level.

Virologist Dr Shahid Jameel further explains, “Once there is enough exposure of the population the virus will become endemic just like many other cold causing viruses like other corona viruses, adenovirus, etc.” The Indian Medical Association condemned the latest narrative developing around the Covid-19 disease in the political sphere in which leaders are attributing the fallen trajectory of positive cases to a situation of an 'endemic'.

Delhi, for over a week, has been witnessing a rise in daily new cases. The IMA noted that for the last one week the infection has shown 35 to 40% increase in the number of cases from different parts of the country and even in the national capital, the daily average has risen up from 100 to 140 patients.

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