Alpha through Kappa: Why COVID is unlikely to subside soon.

2020 January – the whole world was scared by the idea of a new virus overtaking all of humanity. There were lockdowns followed by a host of other measures – some very severe, some probably less by governments all over the world. The idea that most doctors and scientists presented was isolation, quarantine and social distancing.

A survey conducted by researchers in England and published by Springer suggests that about 93% participants did not adhere to the covid protocols strictly and 47% of them did so intentionally. The research also statistically established a strong correlation between non-adherence to the COVID guidelines and vulnerability to COVID-19 itself.

Now, COVID is a disease that has no known cure except for a host of vaccines that were prepared in a great show of human endeavour. However, the vaccines were created keeping in mind the initial variants of COVID-19. The world and the governments all over were scared of the simple numbers of May 2020, which are simple given the numbers the world is facing today. The increase in numbers is however not in the same geographic location as the previous spikes, but the unfortunate thing is that it took place in larger population groups, in groups where social and economic security is not guaranteed effectively or at all by the government to all people and in groups where non-adherence to even simpler rules is more common than the previously infected groups. India, Brazil and the US – all three fall under this category. While some may argue various reasons for breaching the covid norms in their respective country or might even blame the governments for the failure, which it must be, but the fact remains that the consequences include a higher infectivity and hence increased death rates. But is that all? Well, no.

Scientist claim that an infectious virus is suppressed when the herd immunity thresh-hold is reached. The best number to reach is 80% of the population. However, in cases of Israel, the government reopened the country after 58% population was inoculated. If the herd immunity is not achieved, the virus gets enough time to mutate and as covid has quite effectively proven, these mutations are not always good. This means that the slow pace of vaccination in countries like India (I say slow given the huge population the country has), Brazil and even slower and probably negligible rates in the poorest nations gives the virus a strong and assured method to mutate and evolve. Most pharma giants and as many countries like Germany too have shown a greater interest in trading the vaccines commercially rather than quickly addressing the possibility of a stronger covid wave every time the poorest nations are denied vaccines. The richer countries indeed need to save their revenue. But a middle ground must be found otherwise the savings of revenue and the vision of a strong pharma market might lead to a civil breakdown like the one towards which protests in Brazil had pointed towards.

More variants are appearing, more people are being infected every day. The vaccinated nations of Israel, US and the UK are back to masks and social distancing. Is the COVID wave going anywhere? Well, probably no. And let us wait for the xhi or phi variant. And then maybe a greek god appears to take the virus away.

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