India taking 100 days as cut-off for reinfection… work in progress: ICMR

ICMR director-general Balram Bhargava said that the definition of reinfection, “whether it is 90 days or 100 days is still not decided by even WHO”, and that India is “taking the cut-off of about 100 days if the reinfection occurs”.

Confirming that at least three cases of reinfection have been identified in the country, the ICMR chief on Tuesday said that India is taking 100 days as the cut-off period in the identification of reinfection of novel coronavirus cases.

ICMR director-general Balram Bhargava said that the definition of reinfection, “whether it is 90 days or 100 days is still not decided by even WHO”, and that India is “taking the cut-off of about 100 days if the reinfection occurs”.

“…Because that is what we have assumed as the life of antibodies also… it is still work in progress,” Bhargava said.

“Few reinfection cases have been identified. Two in Mumbai and one in Ahmedabad. We have some data from WHO, which says that there are about two dozen reinfection cases in the world. We are looking at the ICMR database… and finding out from those who have reinfection and making telephonic contact with them to get more data,” Bhargava said.

Bhargava, however, reiterated that the mutations that are likely to have triggered reinfections will have little impact on the clinical trials for the Covid-19 vaccine.

As economy opens, a note of caution

The official data highlighting that 35 per cent of Covid-19 deaths reported in India are in the age group of 45-60 years is a critical pointer. Even as a significant population in this age group has returned to the workforce after resumption of economic activity, it is important that Covid-19-appropriate behaviour be strictly complied with despite easing of restrictions.

During the weekly briefing, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan highlighted that a significant 35 per cent of deaths have occurred in the age group of 45-60 years, indicating that this age group is highly vulnerable, in the backdrop of resumption of economic activities.

“Many a times, the young population thinks they are healthy because of age and that they will not get infection or that they will recover early; people should avoid making such assumptions. The case fatality rare data also shows that the comorbid patients in the age-group of 45-60 are at higher risk; this age group has seen 13.9 per cent deaths in comorbid conditions and only 1.5 per cent deaths without comorbidities,” Bhushan said.

Maximum deaths have occurred in the age group of 60 years and above (53 per cent) and lowest in the age group of below 17 (1 per cent) and 18-25 years (1 per cent).

Meanwhile, with active cases below 9 lakh for five consecutive days and the weekly positivity rate at 6.24 per cent, Niti Aayog member Dr V K Paul warned that the festive season and winter could likely result in a surge of cases if precautions are not taken.

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