After four years of pandemic, Covid virus to be seasonal flu in young population

Monday marks four years since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Covid-19 a pandemic. Millions of people in India were infected and died from the virus with the persistent impact of long Covid-19 and post virus syndrome being studied.

With the availability of Covid-19 vaccines and medicines, the virus will become much like a regular flu or seasonal infection in the younger population. However, the elderly and vulnerable population with underlying diseases will continue to be in the high-risk category. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)

Health experts claimed that the SARS-CoV-2 infection will now be much like a regular flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and other seasonal infections in the younger population.

Hindustan Times – your fastest source for breaking news! Read now.

As per experts, even after four years, it is yet to determine how best to prevent and control the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) implemented during the pandemic even today are the only available options to prevent the transmission of infection.

With the availability of Covid-19 vaccines and medicines, the virus will become much like a regular flu or seasonal infection in the younger population. However, the elderly and vulnerable population with underlying diseases will continue to be in the high-risk category.

Dr Raman Gangakhedkar, former head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and head of state Covid-19 task force, said that the high-risk people should take precautions.

“The elderly and having chronic morbid conditions should regularly take immunisation for Covid-19 and flu shots. We had to wait over one year for a vaccine and two years for medicines. However, it won’t be a problem in future if any other disease outbreak is reported,” he said.

As per the state Covid-19 task force, several variants of the virus and sub lineages with the latest new JN.1 sub lineage of the Omicron Covid variant have been reported in the country.

The Covid virus continues to challenge its evolution and will continue in future. The Covid-19 vaccination is helpful to cut down on deaths and decrease morbidity and the surveillance system should be continued in future. Experts expressed the need to come up with guidelines for adult vaccination to improve vaccination coverage, especially in the most vulnerable populations.

Gangakhedkar said that safeguarding against respiratory infections by NPIs is difficult, but it can be done by using masks and social distancing. The NPIs affected the economy which has been seen globally.

“There is a need to increase disease surveillance and diagnostic facilities. Health literacy in India is poor and it was the most difficult task during the initial six months of the pandemic to educate the public about virus prevention. The Information Education and Communication (IEC) programme should be strengthened,” he said.

Dr Bhagwan Pawar, health officer, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), said that the elderly and people with existing health illnesses like hypertension, diabetes and obesity were the ones who reported severe symptoms. “Most of the deaths were reported in these people as their immune system is weak. However, there is strong evidence that vaccinated people reported less severe illness,” he said.

“Vaccination protects individuals for several months, but it depends on that respective person’s immunity, age, and underlying health condition. People should continue to take Covid immunisation even in future,” he said.

Dr Radhakishan Pawar, joint director of health services, said that during the pandemic, the health infrastructure was ramped up with well-equipped public healthcare facilities.

“There is an adequate number of ICU beds, ventilators, isolation beds with oxygen tanks at several public hospitals. This is enough to handle any outbreak of disease in future. The health department has also appointed specialised doctors, medical officers and other healthcare staff. The diagnostics and screening facilities have also been upgraded in these four years,” he said.

Dr HK Sale, executive director, Noble Hospital, said that Covid-19 is now endemic and few cases are reported at private hospitals nowadays. “The shortage of expert doctors and intensivists to handle large number of critical patients was managed by online consultation during the pandemic. Every day there were new challenges regarding ICU beds, ventilators, doctors, medicines, oxygen and vaccines. The importance of a healthy lifestyle and vaccine was highlighted during this period,” he said.

Sanjay Patil, chairman, Hospital Board of India, Pune Chapter, said that people faced the Covid pandemic chaos with fear and uncertainty, and it was for the first time that India successfully manufactured a vaccine in such a short period and mass immunisation was held. “The doctors now are pushing patients for adult immunisation post-pandemic. There is a need for more doctors and tertiary care public hospitals. The system of separate fever outpatient department (OPD) and triage area started during the pandemic should be followed in future,” he said.


Denial of responsibility! Samachar Central is an automatic aggregator of Global media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, and all materials to their authors. For any complaint, please reach us at – [email protected]. We will take necessary action within 24 hours.
DMCA compliant image

Leave a Comment