As India and the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, Tom Frieden, the former director of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a global public health organisation, warned that the pandemic is expected to linger for a while, and the priority is to reduce the mortality rate.
In an interview with Hindustan Times, Frieden stressed the relevance of public awareness to keep the pandemic at bay. The Covid has taught the world the need for further preparation at global, regional, and local levels to prevent any sort of epidemic. Imposing travel bans or closures on the hotspot countries or regions can help to a certain extent.
National, regional, and local levels organisation are important so that there is a clear control centre that imparts to larger mass about the data inferred, establish fair dashboards and a risk alert system.
Providing clinical care and prioritizing vaccination strategy for vulnerable groups as well as health workers, can lessen death rates. Vaccines need weeks or months to develop immunity. However, inoculation is not recommended for persons younger than 18 years of age, due to a lack of study on this group.
CDC are of the notion that there should be more sharing of vaccines and technology transfer to all countries.
India witnesses higher transmission rates in the youth, thus, require vaccinating them. Inoculating people does not mean 100% protection against the virus, Frieden clarified. The US CDC has reported more than 100 deaths among vaccinated people even though, vaccination is effective for herd immunity and pulls the risk rate to the lowest.
Post-vaccination awareness campaigns are equally important to promote precautionary measures. Frieden says that closures and masking are very important in the short and medium-term to get through the pandemic. Widespread use of masks in countries like Singapore and regions like Hong Kong played a tremendous role in limiting Covid and other infections.
Transparency, as Frieden says, depends on each country individually as an effective disease response system relies on real-time data to address the real-time response. A lot of controversies exists about death tolls.
Covid unstable the health care system thus, people die from a wide range of causes. Therefore, sustaining the existing health care services is very crucial. In almost all countries, covid-affected deaths are more than what is reported. However, the question that entails is 'How much more?'