Variant strains, waning immunity render Covid-19 herd immunity impractical hope

(Illustration courtesy: University of Miami)

(, Feb23’21) – The Covid-19 pandemic, which first broke out in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, with Beijing brutally suppressing information about it then, and thereby allowing its silent spread, has now killed more than 500,000 people in the USA. This is more than the number of Americans killed in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam war, noted the New York Times and the BBC News Feb 23.

And amid fears that India could be headed for a second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, a total of 1,14,24,094 vaccine doses have been administered to 75,40,602 healthcare workers and 38,83,492 frontline workers till Feb 22 evening, reported the PTI new agency Feb 22.

Herd immunity is “very difficult” to achieve and should not be thought of in “practical terms” in India, especially in the times of “variant strains” of the Covid-19 virus and “waning immunity”, the Feb 21 earlier cited AIIMS director Randeep Guleria as saying.


The latest data from India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare show that there were 10,584 new Covid-19 cases and 78 new deaths in the country in the past 24 hours as of Feb 23 at 8 AM, taking their cumulative totals to 11,016,434 cases and 156,463 deaths respectively.

India regularly reports less new cases on this day of the week due to less testing during the weekends.

A total of 10,712,665, or 97.24%, had recovered while the number of active cases was 147,306, or 1.34% of the total. The case fatality remained at 1.42%. Except for the unchanged fatality rate, the percentage figures for both the recoveries and active cases have improved over those of the previous day.

The latest daily number of new cases, at 10,584 was more than the daily number of those who had recovered, at 13,255, leading to a decrease in the number of active cases by 2,749.

Twelve states – same as yesterday – have reported more than 100 new cases in the last 24 hours, namely Maharashtra (5,201), Kerala (2,212), Tamil Nadu (449), Punjab (388), Karnataka (317), Gujarat (315), Madhya Pradesh (294), Chattisgarh (274), Telangana (149), West Bengal (148), Delhi (128), and Haryana (106).

Six states have reported 5 or more Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, namely Maharashtra (18), Kerala (16), Punjab (15), Chattisgarh (6), and Tamil Nadu (6), and Karnataka (5). The rest of the states have reported 2 or less deaths.

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


The cumulative number of Covid-19 cases among Tibetans in India, Nepal and Bhutan has remained unchanged at 1,532. Of them 1,459 had recovered, 32 were active and 41 had died, according to the tally of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) as of Feb 23.


Across the world the number of Covid-19 cases totaled 111,725,784 and the deaths 2,474,350, according to the tally of Johns Hopkins University as of 11:54 PM on Feb 23, 2021.


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