Why are Covid-19 cases falling? Are vaccines the main driver? Experts answer

The major countries are witnessing a decline in the number of cases. The WHO has welcomed this development, but warned against complacency.
A healthcare worker administers a shot of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to a woman at a vaccination site in Manhattan.(Reuters File Photo)
A healthcare worker administers a shot of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to a woman at a vaccination site in Manhattan.(Reuters File Photo)
Published on Feb 04, 2021 11:52 AM IST
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By | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi

After being ravaged by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) for over a year, the world is now witnessing a fall in the number of cases. The World Health Organisation (WHO) welcomed this development, calling it encouraging news.

"For the third week in a row, the number of new cases of Covid-19 reported globally fell last week," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference on Monday.

"There are still many countries with increasing numbers of cases, but at the global level, this is encouraging news," he added.

The WHO chief also warned against showing complacency, saying "we have been here before."

Leading the drop in cases is United States, the worst affected country. According to Johns Hopkins University, 110,679 new cases of the disease were recorded in the US on Wednesday, down from 215,805 three weeks ago.

Europe's new cases have declined from about 250,00 to 180,000 a day, according to reports from various health ministries as quoted by other publications. The UK, which is under lockdown, saw its daily tally plummet to 23,355 from nearly 60,000 on January 9.

So what is the reason for this drop in number of cases? Many say that the pro-active approach adopted by various governments in vaccinating their populations has led to this day. But experts say vaccination alone can't be credited for this.

Dr Ali Mokdad, a professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), said inoculation programmes can't alone be responsible for this positive milestone. He said that there is a combination of vaccines, the development of antibodies and weather which is leading the decline.

In the US, more people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine than have tested positive for the virus. As of Monday afternoon, 26.5 million Americans had received one or both doses of the current vaccines, according to Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

The US has been administering shots at a faster daily rate than any country in the world, giving about 1.34 million doses a day. Still, only 7.8 per cent of Americans have gotten one or more doses, and 1.8 per cent are fully vaccinated.

More than 26.3 million people have tested positive for the disease, and 443,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

In the UK, more than 10 million people have received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to data from the government. A further 498,962 have had a second dose.

The UK's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said on Wednesday that the country has passed the peak of its latest wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set a target of vaccinating 15 million of the most vulnerable by mid-February.

India too has been witnessing a decline in the number of cases. On Thursday, 12,899 new cases were recorded. There are 155,025 active cases, which accounts for 1.49 per cent of the total caseload.

India started the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination programme on January 16. So far, 44,49,552 health and frontline workers have been vaccinated in the world's largest immunisation drive.

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Monday, January 17, 2022