All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) director Randeep Guleria on Friday said that given the trend in the rise of daily COVID-19 cases presently, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to spill over to 2021 and continue for some months.
Guleria, a key member of the Centre’s special task force on COVID-19, said the number of COVID-19 cases in India will continue to rise for some more months before it begins to flatten
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In an interview with India Today, Guleria said, “We can’t say that the pandemic will not spill over to 2021 but what we can say is that the curve will be flatter instead of rising very steeply.”
“We should be able to say the pandemic is ending early next year,” he added.
On being asked as to why the COVID-19 curve not flattening, the AIIMS director said, “COVID-19 infection has now spread across India and has reached smaller cities and rural areas. This is why the numbers have increased.”
“Considering the size of our population, the number of cases will rise further for some months before they flatten out,” he said.
Admitting that most parts of the country are presently observing the second wave of COVID-19 cases, Guleria said, “There are multiple factors for this. One of them is our testing capacity has been boosted tremendously.”
“We are now conducting more than a million tests every day. In areas where we test more, we will definitely pick up more cases,” he added.
On being asked regarding the world having COVID-19, the AIIMS director said, “There are a large number of vaccines, including three from India, which are in an advance stage of development.”
“Hopefully, if everything goes well, it will be ready by the end of this year,” he added.
Speaking on the risk of re-infection, the AIIMS director said that at this point re-infection is not the major concern.
“There is sufficient data to suggest that antibodies once created in a COVID patient can protect the person from re-infection for at least some time three-six months at least,” he said.
“What happens 9-12 months on, needs to be studied,” he further said.