Why the second wave of Covid-19 in India is much worse than the first – fr

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Why the second wave of Covid-19 in India is much worse than the first – fr


India is in the midst of a devastating outbreak of Covid-19 that has set records for new infections and deaths and has strained its healthcare system. Last week, India became the second country after the United States to surpass 20 million cases.

The current situation is a far cry from just five months ago, when the country apparently tamed a first wave of the pandemic. What is different this time around? A look at the factors behind India’s second deadly wave:

False sense of security

The first outbreak in India peaked in September, when new reported cases approached 100,000 per day. By the start of this year, that number had fallen by 80%. Meanwhile, the United States and Brazil, the other two countries hardest hit by Covid-19, were facing a rapid increase in the number of cases.

With the epidemic ebbing this winter, Indians have eased mask wear and social distancing. Life was returning to normal, with visits to malls, movies and restaurants approaching pre-pandemic levels. Political rallies and religious holidays, where masses of people congregate, have potentially served as “super-broadcaster” events.

The rise of variants

As India opened up, new variants of the coronavirus were gaining ground in the population. These include the one first detected in the UK, as well as B.1.617, which was first identified in the state of Maharashtra and has since become the dominant variant on the subcontinent. .

The World Health Organization said on Monday that B.1.617 could spread more easily than previous versions of the virus and classified it as a global ‘variant of concern’, along with those first detected in the Kingdom. United, Brazil and South Africa.

Although occupying a different branch of the coronavirus family tree, B.1.617 developed several of the mutations found in these other variants, as well as associated mutations affecting the same segments of genetic code.

Coronavirus family tree

Evolutionary changes progress from left to right. The circles represent genetically similar groupings.

Brazilian variant

November 2020

Ancestral

virus

Detected

Dec 2019

Brazilian variant

November 2020

Ancestral

virus

Detected

Dec 2019

Brazilian variant

November 2020

Ancestral

virus

Detected

Dec 2019

Ancestral

virus

Detected

Dec 2019

These mutations can help the virus to infect cells better or escape the body’s immune system.

Shared and associated mutations

A look at mutations found in the Indian variant (B.1.617) that are identical or related to those found in other variants, along with the possible effects of these mutations

Variants that have the same or related mutations

Help the virus to infect

human cells

Variants that have the same or related mutations

Help the virus to infect

human cells

Variants that have the same or related mutations

Help the virus to infect

human cells

Variants that have the same

or associated mutations

Slow pace of vaccinations

The swelling of infections has given new urgency to India’s efforts to vaccinate its massive population. The country is grappling with logistical challenges and shortages of raw materials that have hampered its vaccination campaign. Last month, it suspended vaccine exports to prioritize domestic needs. The country has totally inoculated less than 3% of its 1.4 billion inhabitants. This is the lowest rate among the 10 countries with the most Covid-19 cases.

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