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Covid-19 is the new normal, but is it time to let the guard down?

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New Delhi, Sep 24: When Covid struck the world over two years ago, it paralyzed one and all. From fear to infection to deaths, everything was on a spiral high and it looked like the virus would suck the life out of everyone and everything. But slowly and with great precautions and resilience, once again things seem to be falling back in place the world over.

Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries are declaring the crisis chapter over, but millions of lives are still at stake. In India, there's a collective sigh of relief across the country as the Covid situation have relatively eased with cases on a steady decline.

Covid-19 is the new normal, but is it time to let the guard down?

After two consecutive years, there are relaxations in Covid restrictions, and a fall in daily Covid numbers. However, with the eradication of COVID out of reach, will living in a pandemic be the 'new normal' for everyone in the future? While infectious diseases experts are hopeful that the pandemic will be over, they have cautioned that Covid is here to stay.

"A dwindling fraction of these cases will be severe enough to lead to death. It is this new normal that we must become accustomed to," Gautam I Menon, professor, Departments of Physics and Biology, Ashoka University, told PTI. "The world cannot function in a state of permanent heightened alertness," Menon, who has been tracking Covid numbers since the beginning of the pandemic, said.

Even as active cases decline, India reported almost 5K new COVID infections in a dayEven as active cases decline, India reported almost 5K new COVID infections in a day

Recently, top Indian scientists and public health experts, according to a report by Livemint, said that India may not witness a fresh wave of Covid-19 like in China. It also added that a large population of India has already been exposed to Omicron variants during the third wave. Therefore, they may not be affected by the current Omicron variants.
The WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also hinted towards the end of the Covid pandemic, saying,"We are not there yet. But the end is in sight."

"We have spent two-and-a-half years in a long, dark tunnel, and we are just beginning to glimpse the light at the end of that tunnel," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Tedros said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. "But it is still a long way off, and the tunnel is still dark, with many obstacles that could trip us up if we don't take care," he added.

It should be noted that the daily number of cases in India peaked at 4,14,188 on May 7, 2021, while June 10, 2021 saw highest death numbers of 6,148. On Friday, the country reported 5,383 new cases and 20 deaths due to Covid.

What is India's current status?

With 4,912 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day, India's tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 4,45,63,337, while the active cases declined to 44,436, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Saturday. The death toll has climbed to 5,28,487 with 38 fatalities, which include 19 deaths reconciled by Kerala, the data updated at 8 am stated.

The active cases comprise 0.10 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has increased to 98.71 per cent, the health ministry said.

Vaccination numbers:

The first, second and the booster dose of the Covid vaccination has played a crucial role in reducing the country's Covid burden.

The long drawn battle against Covid-19 could be drawing to a close, but the disease still persists and is not yet fully over as cases are still being reported on a daily basis. As the monsoon still continues and the festive season is also about to start, it is advisable to continue to wear masks and maintain social distancing, especially in public places and workplaces, for our own safety. Yes, while we need to learn to live with Covid scare around us, we also need to make sure that the precautions, our sole weapon against the virus, are in place at all times.

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