Source: This post is based on the article “Is Covid-19 now endemic in India?” published in the Indian Express on 31st August 2021.
What is the News?
The World Health Organization(WHO) chief scientist has said that India seems to be entering some stage of Covid-19 endemicity, where there is low- to moderate-level transmission.
What is endemicity?
Endemic refers to the constant presence and/or usual prevalence of a disease or infectious agent in a population within a geographic area.
For Example, Malaria and Chickenpox are endemic diseases, unlike smallpox, which has been eradicated.
Note: Pandemic is an epidemic occurring worldwide or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people.
Why is Covid-19 entering into endemicity?
Disease pathogens that don’t have animals (another species) as a reservoir alone can be eradicated. For example, smallpox and polio are human viruses, so they can be eradicated.
This means if there is a virus/pathogen that is present in some animal reservoir like bats, camels or civet cats, then it can transmit again once the level of immunity wanes in the population against the disease caused by it.
In the case of coronavirus disease, it will continue to circulate as it is present in the animal reservoir.
Covid-19 will eventually stabilise to a level where it will be present among people but at a relatively low and predictable rate.
It will cause disease to the extent that people have had no vaccination against or exposure.
However, if enough people are vaccinated or have been exposed to the infection, then the virus will cause symptomatic infection but not the disease.