It's the seventh day of the 21-day
nation-wide lockdown, and the number of coronavirus cases in India have risen to over 1,250. Total active cases stand at above 1,100 and the number of recoveries have gone up by just two, to 101 over the last 24 hours.
Amongst the states, Kerala and Maharashtra continue to report the highest number of confirmed cases. The combined tally for these two states now stand above 400.
As the number of cases rise in India, Hyderabad-based gastro-enterologists and Chairman of Asian Institute of Gastroenterology Doctor D Nageshwar Reddy said eleven different mutations of the virus have been identified in the studies conducted in India thus far. However, the two-time Padma Award winner adds that it is difficult -- and too early -- to determine whether these mutations are leading to differences in mortality and immunity rates.
Now there is an MIT study which points to the possibility that the virus' spread is slower, and mortality rate lower in regions with hot climates. We must add here that this paper has not yet been subjected to a peer review, and has been written by researchers who do not have a medical degree.
Doctor Reddy said it is too early to jump to this conclusion and that the medical community still needs to study various other factors before a definitive verdict can be pronounced.
He said, “I am actually more of an optimistic, and I see this in a different way. If we actually look at per million population cases, it is about 562 for US, 1,000 for Italy, for India it is 0.09 per million, so we are in the lower part of the scale if we look at per million population rates. I am optimistic that by next week we will have a definite indication of how the things are going.”
“If you look at what is happening in the western world versus what is happening in India, the death rate is approximately between 3-4 percent. One of the criticism is that we are not testing enough and therefore we are not seeing enough cases. Even if you test a lot of people, even if you increase your incidence by 10 times even 100 times we will still be only about 9 per million which is way down what is happening in the western country, that way we are lucky," he said, adding that there are several factors which are responsible for this including the early lockdown that government initiated, plus the fact that we are been following this physical distancing quite actively now.He also added, “All these viruses, especially, the RNA virus they undergo mutations frequently and when they are going from one place to another mutations. Some of these mutations are favourable, some are more dangerous for us. There are mutations in different viruses in different parts of the world and we have to see how these mutations actively affect different geographical areas.”