India is now the global epicentre of this pandemic and it doesn’t look like things will improve anytime soon. Today, the Indian government issued a warning. An official said, time has now come for you to start wearing a mask at home, while you share common spaces with your family members.
The virus is still mutating and spreading and countries are still trying to keep up with it. More than 147 million infections worldwide but the coronavirus isn’t done yet. The virus is mutating into dangerous variants. The latest one has been found in Sri Lanka. It spreads very fast and can remain airborne for nearly an hour. It began spreading rapidly after last week’s new year celebrations. Younger people are getting infected in larger numbers. Experts fear a third wave and the next two to three weeks will be critical.
As the surge continues, a new study has found that pregnant women and newborn children face higher risks. The study was conducted by the University of Oxford and it found that women, who test positive during pregnancy face high risk of complications. They are over 50 per cent more likely to experience premature birth, pre-eclampsia, admission to intensive care and even the risk of death. Newborns too are nearly three times more at risk.
The world’s best bet are vaccines, but we don’t have enough of them. The World Health Organization might deliver a booster shot soon. It is reviewing Moderna’s coronavirus shot. Technical experts will meet on the April 30 to decide. So far, the WHO has approved vaccines made by Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson. An emergency use listing from the WHO may accelerate the adoption of the Moderna vaccine around the world.
Here’s another potential cure, an HCQ spray. In Singapore, researchers have found promise in an old, but highly controversial drug. They say, that using a throat spray with anti-malarial drug hydrooxychloroquine can reduce the spread of the virus. Researchers tested their hypotheses on more than 3,000 migrant workers. They found that using the two drugs cuts the spread of the virus in high transmission settings, like dormitories, cruise ships and prisons. Hydrooxychloroquine or HCQ has been a controversial choice of treatment since last year.
And finally, a story that gives hope. Italy, after six months of rotating lockdowns, is unlocking again. Restaurants are serving customers again after a major outbreak last year. The country has been in and out of lockdowns. Right wing parties say Italy has been too cautious. Virologists disagree as they feel the lockdowns were needed and unlocking even now might invite a new surge. Italy’s vaccination programme is going slow. It is missing its daily targets of 500,000 shots a day and remains limited to the elderly. As Italians say cheers, they’ll have to keep their guard up.