Will Covid-19 cases increase in India during winter? Likely, says Harsh Vardhan
Amid several reports indicating that the number of Covid-19 cases will increase during winter, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday confirmed that the possibility of the same in Indian context can’t be dismissed at all.
“SARS Cov 2 is a respiratory virus and the transmission of respiratory viruses is known to increase during the colder weather. Respiratory viruses thrive better in cold weather and low humidity conditions. There is another fact that needs to be kept in mind. During winter, there is a tendency of overcrowding in residential dwellings which may increase transmission... So in Indian context, it would not be wrong to assume that the winter season may see an increase in the number of cases,” the minister said, addressing his weekly social media interaction programme Sunday Samvaad.
The minister also cited the examples of the European countries, especially the United Kingdom, where the number of infections has gone up with the advent of winter.
“Hence, we are emphasising on the precautionary measures which are easy to follow. No need to fear and shudder. Wear the mask and maintain social distancing. Prevention is better than cure,” the minister said, sounding a note of caution.
According to modelling done by the Academy of Medical Sciences, UK, the winter may be an extremely challenging. It has predicted a peak in hospital admissions and deaths in January/February 2021.
The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has recently warned Delhi is likely to report around 15,000 Covid-19 cases daily in winter.
“Winter months that make respiratory illnesses severer...Patients may come from outside Delhi in large numbers… Patients coming from distant areas are likely to be more serious. In addition, with festival-related gatherings, there could be a sudden rise in cases. Therefore, it is recommended that Delhi should prepare for a daily surge of approximately 15,000 positive cases and make arrangements for inpatient admissions of patients with moderate and severe disease roughly amounting to 20% of this surge,” the NCDC said in a document related to the revised Covid-19 strategy for Delhi.