Over 2 years after declaring Covid-19 an international emergency and a pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed optimism about the status of the dreaded coronavirus. In a recent statement that has gone viral, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, mentioned, “We are not there yet. But the end is in sight,” he said, adding how “Now is the time to run harder and make sure we cross the line and reap the rewards of all our hard work.”
In India, the fight against Covid-19 continues as the last figures reported by the Union health ministry indicate the emergence of over 6,200 fresh cases in 24 hours. So, is the end of Covid-19 really in sight for India?
Check out a message from WHO chief on the global Covid-19 fight!
Health Shots reached out to multiple health experts to understand the WHO chief’s statement from the India perspective. Here’s what they said.
Dr. Namita Jaggi, Chairperson- Lab services and Infection control and Chief- Education and Research, Artemis Hospital, Gurugram
Normally, a pandemic takes about two to two and half years. It has already been two years with coronavirus. The end is definitely around the corner, but before we reach that end, we have be very careful during this journey, and continue taking precautions specially while travelling in crowds, and hospitals, it is important not to let our guards down and continue wearing masks and follow social and physical distancing and keep our hands clean. Though vaccination now is getting inclusive throughout the world, the variants are also multiplying, so it is important to keep following the precautionary steps. Masks also prevent other respiratory diseases like influenza, so it is a very good habit to wear masks specially in airports and inside the closed spaces like airplane where people stay together for a very long time. If you get infected, even though it will be mild but may cause problems in those with comorbidities. Hence, prevention is better than cure, try and prevent getting infected.
Dr Behram Pardiwala, Director Internal Medicines, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central
“The Covid-19 pandemic has now become endemic with the result that there is community spread, and attainment of herd immunity to a certain degree. My personal opinion is that like the annual influenza shot, we will need to take an annual vaccination against Covid-19.
We will still need to take adequate precautions against Covid-19, especially in crowded areas and crowded places to prevent spread. One also has to be vigilant about mutations and new strains evolving and that is why the vaccine also will have to evolve. Towards this end, it is also necessary that the common public themselves are aware of the consequences of risks of their behaviour.”
Dr Dipu TS, Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Amrita Hospital, Kochi
“From the previous pandemics, our understanding is that by 2 to 3 years the pandemic will seize to be a major challenge. We can see that in our daily lves, we are almost back to the pre-pandemic times with opening up of schools and restaurants and public places. In majority of the countries, now the restrictions are name sake. Though new Covid-19 case numbers are still giving us the hint that it’s far from over, the fact is that it’s no more a rapidly spreading disease which sweeps across the nations. The assumption is that the most infectious variant that is the Omicron variant has already been there and now the circulating variants are less likely to produce a more infectious variant to glide across the globe. The hybrid immunity the masses have, due to vaccination and prior infection, also adds to the beginning of the end. Hence, the World Health Organization, rightly said that the end is at sight.”
Dr Ankur Phatarpekar, Director Cathlab and Interventional Cardiologist, Symbiosis Hospital, Mumbai
“As a cardiologist, I am seeing very less cases of Covid-19 in my OPD, and very less Covid-induced complications of the heart. In the last 6 months, I have almost not come across any patient who has suffered any heart attacks or heart disease complications due to Covid. So, yes, as WHO suggested, the pandemic is at an end stage. However, we all still should follow some safety protocols to keep us at bay from any further viruses.”
Dr. Naman Bansal, Medical Superintendant at Artemis Lite, New Delhi
“The human race has proven its superiority to what has been its biggest threat to existence in recent times. However, we still need to be cautious. We must learn from our failures and take forward the positives for a brighter future. Vaccination has been an important factor for us to reach this day. We are definitely reaching the end of Covid-19, but for that it’s very important to continue following the protocols.”