The top 10 countries, with upwards of 20,000 positive cases daily, are mostly in Europe and US, warning of the possibility of a fresh wave of the virus infections with vaccination also affected by hesitancy. And while these nations are suffering despite vaccines being available, much of Africa is awaiting supplies of the shots that are largely with the developed world.
Most of these affluent countries witnessing a sudden surge of new infections have fully vaccinated at least 60-70% of their population. India’s fully vaccinated population is under 32% but its infection rate has plunged to almost 8,000 cases a day, helped by a large coverage of at least one shot and immunity that has been detected in post the high infectious Delta wave. Russia with 34,000 cases a day remains an exception among high prevalence nations where infections are on the rise given low vaccination coverage of 38% of population even as appeals led by president Vladimir Putin have had little effect.
Larry Corey, professor of medicine and virology at University of Washington studied the pattern of Delta variant in August and noted that it had the potency to infect a larger number of contacts than all other variants, but among those who were hospitalized, an unprecedented 95-98% were unvaccinated.
“When we look at who’s in the hospital among adults, we see an unprecedented number of people who have not been vaccinated – 95-98%. The same pattern is seen with children. COVID-19 Delta strain is a hospital epidemic of the unvaccinated,” he wrote in a paper for the JHU.
The slowing down of daily cases in India somewhat attest to Prof Corey’s observations as a large population in the country had been infected by the more infectious Delta variant in April-May. Combined with seropositivity of up to 90% in major cities and towns, a universal vaccination campaign by the government has sort of created immunity against the virus and may be the reason for lower numbers of infections.
India, however, needs to complete the targeted 100% coverage of the two dosages of the vaccination to insulate its adult population from any new variant.
Reports have shown there are at least 20 crore vaccine doses remaining unused with states, just half of them required to fully vaccinate the entire adult population.
Though India’s total coverage may be less than the US or other European countries, in sheer numbers, India had fully vaccinated 43 crore people as against 19.6 crore in the US. China leads all countries having fully vaccinated more than a billion (107 crore) of its total population.