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Third Wave of Coronavirus - Delta Plus Variant in India

 Hello everyone,  Talking about Coronavirus, there is an uproar in the world because of the Delta variant. America and European countries are worried that the Delta variant will cause the next wave of Covid. On the other hand, people in India are worried that there might be a third wave because of the Delta Plus variant. What is this Delta Plus variant? And when can this third wave happen? Come, let's try to find out in today's video. Friends, what's special about the mutations is that it happens in every living being. Whether it's a human, animal, plant, tree, or even a virus. 

Mutations accompany reproduction. A person's DNA, when you have children, and the DNA is transferred, then from one generation to the next, on average there are 100-200 mutations in the DNA. Most of the mutations are harmless, can't be seen and neither can their effects be felt. Same with viruses. Thousands of mutations take place in the Covid virus. Most of them do not bother us. But at times there are such mutations that make the virus more transmissible. So that the virus can spread easier. And at times there are such mutations that make the virus more deadly. 

WHO or the World Health Organization keeps a track of the dangerous mutations of Coronavirus. WHO has classified these mutations into two categories. The first category is 'Variants of Interest'. And the second category is 'Variants of Concern'. Broadly speaking, Variants of Interest will include those coronavirus variants that have been detected in multiple countries. And which have high transmissibility. Meaning that they spread easily. As compared to the original virus. On the other hand, the variants of concern include those coronavirus variants that has not only high transmissibility not only do they spread more easily, but the disease caused by them is much more severe. And the effectiveness of the vaccines on these variants is lesser than compared to the original virus. Currently, WHO has put four variants in the Variant of Concern category. Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta. The Alpha variant was called the UK variant initially. Because it was first found in the UK. Similarly, the Beta variant was found in South Africa. Gamma in Brazil. And the Delta variant was first discovered in India. That's why it was also called the Indian variant initially. 

Later, people protested as to why they were named after countries. When the original virus came from China, we did not name it the Wuhan virus or the China virus. So why are the names of the variants based on the countries they're found in? So WHO reacted to this. And then WHO decided to rename them to Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta. The strain of the Delta variant was first found in October 2020 in India. This was the cause of the second wave in India. Today, the Delta variant has spread to over 80 countries. Its transmissibility is extremely high. Meaning it spreads really easily. Before moving forward, I should clarify one thing. Discovering a variant in a country is merely a matter of chance. No country can be blamed for anything. 

Because as I said, the virus is going through thousands of mutations. Which mutation will turn out to be more dangerous or more transmissible is all up to chance. Including where the mutation will be found. In extremely mathematical terms, studies have shown that the Delta variant is 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant. And the Alpha variant was 50% more transmissible than the original strain found in Wuhan in 2019. So you can imagine how much more infectious it is than the original. Generally, when viruses mutate and become more transmissible, they become less deadly as well. I explained it in detail using this chart in a previous video. But there can be some rare cases where the virus becomes more transmissible and more deadly after the mutation. 

But at the same time, I'd like to say that there has been no conclusive research yet that shows that the Delta variant is, for sure, more deadly or more dangerous. A study conducted in the UK has said that because of the Delta variant, the risk of hospitalization doubles. As compared to the Alpha variant. But does getting hospitalised mean that it is more deadly? It cannot be conclusively said yet. It may also happen that this variant is not more deadly. But because it is so highly transmissible, it spread among so many people in such little time. So the death rate peaked a lot in that short time. 

As compared to the same number of deaths in a longer time period. Do you understand what I'm trying to say here? If transmissibility is so high, it becomes more difficult to ascertain if it is really more deadly or not. Many factors need to be considered here. Another interesting thing to know is that the symptoms of the Delta variant are a little different than the original Covid-19 symptoms. Originally, a runny nose was not made out to be one of the major symptoms. But recently, a study has been conducted in the UK when people self-reported their symptoms. It was found that among the symptoms of the Delta variant, runny nose features prominently in the list of symptoms. Headache, runny nose, cold, sore throat, were the top symptoms. So the symptoms of the Delta variant are very similar to the symptoms of the common cold. Loss of smell. 

Not being able to smell things properly. Was a major symptom in the original strain of Covid-19. But for the Delta variant, it ranked 9th in the UK study. The good news regarding the vaccines is that according to the data available till now, almost all the vaccines are definitely effective against the Delta variant. Pfizer vaccine, AstraZeneca's Covishield vaccine and the others have shown that they are more than 90% effective in preventing hospitalization and death. If you catch the Delta Variant after taking both doses. The only trouble here, though marginal, is that the effectiveness of the vaccines in preventing symptoms has reduced. Like AstraZeneca's Covishield's effectivity in preventing symptoms against the Delta variant remains at only 60% after taking both doses.

 Though Pfizer's vaccine is still showing an effectiveness of 88% in it too. Now, the Delta variant is no longer a major concern for India. But now we get to hear about a mutation named Delta Plus in the news. The Indian government has declared the Delta variant as a Variant of Concern. And some people believe that there will a third wave in India because of the Delta Plus variant. The limited research conducted till now regarding it has found that the Delta Plus variant is 60% more transmissible than the Delta variant. And it is highly resistant against some drugs. But the reality is that friends, we don't honestly know much about it. It is important to note that the World Health Organization has not declared it a Variant of Concern yet. 

Even though the Indian government has done so. Indian Council of Medical Research ICMR says that it is too soon to tell if there will be a third wave because of the Delta Plus variant. So it seems a bit unlikely that that there will be a third wave because of the Delta Plus variant. But still, the experts believe that there is a very high chance that there will be a third wave in India. The gap between two waves is said to be generally of 15-16 weeks in an epidemic. 

A Reuters poll of 40 medical experts was conducted with the conclusion that the experts said that a third wave is inevitable. There will definitely be a third wave. And they believe that the third wave will come around October of this year. On the other hand, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria says that the third wave may come in the next 6 to 8 weeks. If people stop wearing masks and stop following social distancing. But there are some experts like Dr N.K. Arora Dr N.K. Arora is the Chief of the Centre's Covid-19 Working Group, he says that the third wave of Coronavirus will not happen before December of this year. So there are estimations from October to December by the doctors and experts. 

This is just the time. But if we're to talk about the severity, How dangerous can the third wave be? A report of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research has stated that it is very likely that the third wave will not be as severe as the second wave was. It may be less disastrous than that. But does that mean that we can relax because there's nothing to worry about? No, it doesn't mean this. Because take an example of South Africa. The first wave in South Africa was because of the original Coronavirus. Look at this chart. And then the second wave happened because of the Beta variant that was found in South Africa. And now the third wave is happening because of the Delta variant. And the third and second waves seem equally dangerous. And they've spread so rapidly. Experts believe that their government is to be blamed for not planning things properly and because of the inefficient vaccine rollout.

 As of today, less than 5% of people have been vaccinated in their country. Had more people been vaccinated, then the Delta variant wouldn't have caused havoc. Take Israel's example. 60% of its population has been vaccinated. When the Delta variant reached Israel, the government definitely took some measures. Some people were infected. But hospitalization and deaths are still negligible in Israel. Friends, the good news is that in recent times, the vaccination rate in India has increased very well. Recently, India broke the record of vaccinating more than 8 million people in a day. 

That's an amazing feat. The sooner the vaccinations are administered, the sooner people are vaccinated, we will have a better chance of beating the third wave. But the unfortunate thing is that this speed of vaccination may still not be enough. To completely avoid the third wave. The government aims that by the end of the year, the entire adult population of India will be vaccinated. But on this graph, you can see that we are, unfortunately, not on the track to achieve this. At an individual level, there is only one sure-shot, long-term solution of being protected from the third wave. And that is to get vaccinated as soon as you get the chance to. 

Today, as a matter of fact, I got my vaccine. I got the chance to get it today. Because it's possible that the Delta Plus variant does not cause the third wave. But remember, there are thousands of mutations in this virus every day. Someday, a mutation may crop up, that is more transmissible and more deadly and can bring forth the third wave. That's why the vaccine is the best chance we have to be safe from it. I hope you found this video informative. Thank you very much.

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