More than half of the world still susceptible to Delta variant towards the end of 2021, says IHME
The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic will continue its third year with significant transmission level and spread, according to the latest projections by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent population health research centre at University of Washington Medicine.
Christopher JL Murray, director, IHME, said in his latest assessment: “As we look forward to 2022, there are several things that suggest that we will see considerable COVID-19 transmission in 2022 as well.”
Nearly 35 per cent of the world population would be vaccinated by the end of 2021, according to the projections. Immunity derived from natural infection as well as the vaccines could add up to half the world population having some sort of protection from the highly infectious Delta variant.
“We expect that more than half of the world will still be susceptible to Delta towards the end of the year. So there’s a huge room — even without a new variant emerging — for continued transmission around the world,” said Murray.
Hardly four months into the pandemic’s third year, IHME projections suggest a surge.
“In terms of our forecasts, what we’re seeing is expected: Large transmission at the global level through December 1. Throughout the whole period, transmission will be over 5 million infections a day, and we should expect to see, in our reference scenario, global deaths continuing to be in the range of 8,000-10,000 a day.”
IHME projections show COVID-19 transmission will continue, notwithstanding vaccination drives and natural protections acquired through infections.
Murray flagged another concern — as the immunity derived from infections and vaccination wane, the world will face another challenge. Will, then, the goal of vaccine would be to reduce harm or stop infection?
“I think the other critical issue that we’re seeing around the world — both playing out currently in the policy debate and in our model — is that high-income and middle-income countries that have higher vaccination rates are starting to debate whether the goal of control is to stop infection or harm reduction. This means they are debating whether the goal is to reduce severe hospitalisations and death through vaccinations and seasonal mask use for those who are at risk,” he said.
India recorded 31,222 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours till, taking the total tally to over 33 million. As many as 0.44 million have died in the country since the beginning of the pandemic.
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