India Wave Two

A second wave of COVID is rapidly spreading in India. Two things make this particularly alarming.

First, in the presence of a higher baseline prevalence, which means it can spread faster due to the exponential nature of transmission. This provides part of the reason why the climb appears to be happening considerably faster than the first wave.

The second part of this the emergence of the new variants in the country. Only a small percentage get this genetic sequencing as a surveillance measure to understand the burden of each variant in the population. However, the government indicates that the current surge is not due to variants at this time. That could spell trouble as they become more widespread.

It will be interesting to see if another mass use of HCQ will be attempted again to control spread, even though there is no evidence that it has any benefit. Other factors were likely to have curbed the first wave.

A lot of people seem to overlook the interdependencies that have developed between countries. “India is a crucial link in the vaccination supply chain…Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the foreign minister, has said that the availability of vaccines in India will determine how many doses go overseas.

Vaccine isn’t the only potential shortage generated by COVID in India. About 80% of the pharmaceuticals used in the US rely on China and India for production.

I have suggested before that it would be wise to maintain a 3-6 month supply of any life-sustaining medications (insulin, cardiac medications, etc.) until the pandemic is over, or, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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