“Since we are seeing other types of respiratory viruses in the society currently instead of predominantly SARS-CoV-2, this could be an indication of the second wave approaching its fag end. Other types of respiratory infections are now becoming more apparent, such as influenza B and respiratory syncytial virus,” Awate said.
“When a pandemic virus like SARS-CoV-2 spreads and is dominant, it does not let other respiratory viruses dominate,” Awate explained.
The health department is regularly surveying severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) and influenza-like illness (ILI), after which this trend was recently witnessed.
Maharashtra’s total active cases are also approaching an all-time low mark after May last year. Cases are considered active for 14 days after the symptom onset date.
As per a recent analysis by the health department, Maharashtra’s lowest active cases (barring the March to May 2020 period last year) were on February 11, 2021, at 30,265 cases. As of October 12, this number has dropped to 30,525, the second lowest number of active cases after May last year.
“We cannot consider active cases in the months of March to May 2020 as being the lowest on technicalities, considering that the first Covid wave had just started then and daily detections were relatively less. Hence, the number of active cases as on February 11 this year are being considered the lowest mark during the both, first and second waves,” he said.
The public health department expects the current active cases to drop below the February 11 mark in the next few days, considering an average of over 1,000-3,000 hospital discharges happening per day in Maharashtra.
Dr Sanjay Pujari from the ICMR National Task Force on Clinical Research for Covid-19 and the director of the Institute of Infectious Diseases, Pune, told TOI, “When a virus is unable to cause widespread disease because of developing herd immunity in a population, either due to natural infection or vaccine-induced immunity, other viruses circulating in a population will cause proportionately more disease.”
Dr Pujari said there were a range of viruses in the human respiratory tract that were competing against one another. “What keeps them from causing infection is the immune response of the host. Going by the sero surveys, if a population is showing a higher immunity against a circulating variant of SARS-CoV-2, other viruses may take over at that point in time,” he said.
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Publish date : 2021-10-12 22:56:00