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A variant, possibly dodging vaccine protections, may be behind India’s steep second Covid-19 wave

(TibetanReview.net, May09’21) – A Covid-19 variant spreading in India is more contagious and may be dodging vaccine protections, contributing to the country’s explosive outbreak, the AFP May 9 cited the World Health Organization’s chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan as saying. She has warned, “the epidemiological features that we see in India today do indicate that it’s an extremely rapidly spreading variant”.

Ms Swaminathan, a paediatrician and clinical scientist, has said the B.1.617 variant of Covid-19, which was first detected last October, was clearly a contributing factor to the catastrophe unfolding in her homeland.

While there have been many factors behind the recent steep deterioration of the pandemic situation in India, the 62-year-old has said, “a more rapidly spreading virus is one of them”.

She has said the surge in India was frightening not only due to the horrifying number of people who were sick and dying there, but also because the exploding infection numbers dramatically increase the chances of new and more dangerous variants emerging.

“Variants which accumulate a lot of mutations may ultimately become resistant to the current vaccines that we have,” she has warned, adding, “That’s going to be a problem for the whole world.”

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Meanwhile, the latest data from India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare show that there were 403,738 new Covid-19 cases and 4,092 new deaths in the country in the past 24 hours recorded on May 9 at 8 AM, taking their cumulative totals to 22,296,414 cases and 242,362 deaths respectively.

This is the fifth time this week that India reported over 4 lakh daily new infections.

A total of over 18.31 million (18,317,404 or 82.15%) had recovered while the number of active cases was over 3.73 million (3,736,648, or 16.76% of the total). The case fatality rate was 1.09%.

Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Bihar, and Telangana with heavy caseloads have reported slight declines in active cases.

The active caseload was at its lowest at 1,35,926 on Feb 12 comprising 1.25% of the total infections.

Twenty-four states/Union Territories have reported more than 1,000 new cases in the last 24 hours, namely Maharashtra (56,578), Karnataka (47,563), Kerala (41,971), Tamil Nadu (27,397), Uttar Pradesh (26,636), Andhra Pradesh (20,065), West Bengal (19,436), Rajasthan (17,987), Delhi (17,364), Haryana (14,667), Bihar (12,948), Chattisgarh (12,239), Gujarat (11,892), Odisha (11,807), Madhya Pradesh (11,598), Punjab (9,042), Uttarakhand (8,390), Jharkhand (6,112), Assam (5,756), Himachal Pradesh (5,424), Telangana (5,186), Jammu and Kashmir (4,788), Goa (3,751), and Puducherry (1,703).

Eleven other states/Union Territories have reported more than 100 new cases in the last 24 hours, namely Chandigarh (870), Manipur (442), Meghalaya (375), Tripura (351), Nagaland (333), Arunachal Pradesh (244), Sikkim (200), Mizoram (169), Ladakh (156), Dadra And Nagar Haveli And Daman And Diu (141), and Lakshadweep (127).

Twenty-six states/Union Territories have reported 5 or more Covid-19 deaths each in the last 24 hours, namely Maharashtra (864), Karnataka (482), Uttar Pradesh (297), Delhi (332), Tamil Nadu (241), Chattisgarh (223), Punjab (171), Rajasthan (160), Haryana (155), Jharkhand (141), West Bengal (127), Gujarat (119), Uttarakhand (118), Andhra Pradesh (96), Madhya Pradesh (90), Bihar (76), Kerala (64), Goa (55), Jammu and Kashmir (60), Assam (50), Telangana (38), Himachal Pradesh (37), Odisha (21), Puducherry (19), Nagalalnd (15), Manipur (12), Meghalaya (11Chandigarh (9), and), Sikkim (5). The rest of the states/Union Territories have reported 2 or less deaths.

India is currently the country with the world’s second highest number of Covid-19 cases after the USA, and the fourth highest number of deaths after the USA, Brazil and Mexico in cumulative numbers.

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The cumulative total of Covid-19 cases among Tibetans in India and Nepal had remained unchanged at 3,004, according to the tally of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) on its Tibet.net website May 9. Of the total number of cases, 1,879 had recovered, 1,063 were active, and 62 had died.

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Across the world the number of Covid-19 cases totaled over 157 million (157,737,737) and the deaths over 3.28 million (3,284,388), according to the tally of Johns Hopkins University as of May 9, 2021 at 3:50 PM.

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