Current COVID-19 surge can't be termed 4th wave: ICMR official
The current surge in India's daily COVID-19 cases cannot be considered the fourth wave of the pandemic, a top Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) official said on Sunday. Dr. Samiran Panda, Additional Director General of the ICMR, told IANS that the rise in infections has been witnessed only at district levels, so it cannot be said the country is approaching the fourth wave.
- Notably, Panda's statement comes nearly two weeks after former ICMR chief scientist Dr. Raman R Gangakhedkar also implied the gradual spike in COVID-19 cases doesn't seem to be an indication of the fourth wave.
- Meanwhile, several states and UTs, including Delhi and Kerala, have decided to reintroduce the mask mandate and urged the public to strictly adhere to COVID-19-appropriate behavior.
"Some surges have been observed at district levels. This is called a blip... Blips are confined to certain geographical regions of the country," Panda stated. He provided four reasons in support of his statement while arguing why the surge wasn't a sign of a fourth wave. Firstly, he said, the surge was discovered only at certain local levels due to the low testing ratio.
"Secondly, what we see is just a blip and we cannot say...entire states are under the grip of COVID-19," Panda stated. Thirdly, he stated that there has been no significant increase in India's hospital admissions. Fourthly and most importantly, Panda claims no new variants have been discovered, implying there is currently no fourth wave while attributing the high positivity rate to low testing.
Earlier in April, the reproduction number (R-value) for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 had crossed one for the first time since January 2022, when it was 1.28, PTI reported. The R-value or R-factor indicates how rapidly the infection is spreading across the country.
Meanwhile, India reported a total of 3,324 new cases and 40 COVID-19-related fatalities on Sunday. In the past 24 hours, the country's active COVID-19 caseload witnessed a rise of 408 cases to 19,092. The active cases currently account for 0.04% of the total cases recorded so far in the country. Meanwhile, India's recovery rate stood at 98.74%.