UP reports Delta plus cases, variants of concern found in 174 districts
Delta plus, the lethal and more infectious variant of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has found its way to Uttar Pradesh, HT's sister publication Hindustan reported on Thursday. In a first, the state detected two cases of the Delta plus Covid-19 variant from Gorakhpur and Deoria. One of the patients has died, the publication confirmed, adding that the news has generated a considerable stir in the region.
The Union health ministry said on Wednesday that 'variants of concern' of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus have been detected in as many as 174 districts across 35 states and Union territories. The highest number of these cases have been from Maharashtra, Delhi, Punjab, Telangana, West Bengal, and Gujarat, according to the health ministry.
The Delta plus Covid-19 variant in eastern UP was detected through samples of Covid-19 patients earlier sent for genome sequencing to the Council of Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR) at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in Delhi. The reports of the genome sequencing test were received last Tuesday, where it was seen that over 80% of the samples had tested positive for the Delta variant -- or B.1.617.2 -- while around 6% detected the alpha variant, first detected in the UK.
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Only two samples tested positive for the Delta plus variant, stirring up panic among the locals. These belonged to a 66-year-old patient in Deoria and a 23-year-old MBBS student at a medical college in Gorakhpur. Of these two victims, the elderly victim, who had tested positive on May 17, passed away during the course of receiving treatment.
The news has generated considerable excitement in the region because it is said that the Delta plus Covid-19 variant may drive a potential third wave of the pandemic in India. The Delta variant was the key driver behind the last wave, which was almost twice as deadly as the first. About 20,000 people were found infected by the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in India, while the second wave hit around 36,000 people in India, reports said. There was a scramble for government beds, medical oxygen, ventilators, and other pieces of equipment across the country, even while the death toll and infections continued to rise exponentially.
The rate of infection was so fast during the second wave that on average, around 1000 people were reported to be getting infected by Covid-19 daily during the months of April and May, while the 'real' death toll was believed to be far beyond the official tally. Now that the second wave of the pandemic is finally showing signs of receding, news of a potential third wave, driven by the Delta plus variant, has pushed the country to a frenzy.