COVID-19 a respiratory virus, most respiratory viruses escalate during winter: Govt

New Delhi (NVI): COVID-19 is a respiratory virus and most such viruses escalate during winter, the government said today.

Addressing the Health Ministry media briefing, VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, said, “We have to be more careful in our hygiene practices as it is a respiratory virus and most respiratory viruses escalate during winter. Behavioural change is necessary, masks are mandatory.”

The government also said that India’s COVID-19 graph had plateaued but warned against a more severe second wave in winters than the first one if people became lax and disregarded COVID appropriate behaviour.

The three-ply masks and homemade masks are beneficial against preventing the transmission of the virus. N-95 masks are beneficial for health workers working in hospitals while surgical masks are effective in general practice use, Paul added.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that India has crossed the 62 lakh COVID-19 recoveries mark, the highest in the world. Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan also said that the active cases are below nine lakh for the fifth consecutive day in India.

Furthermore, it was informed that the COVID-19 positivity rate in India is on a constant downward trend – cumulative positivity rate at 8.07 per cent, weekly rate at 6.24 per cent and daily rate at 5.16 per cent.

“Around 87 per cent of people have been discharged/cured. There are 11.69 per cent active cases who are either in hospitals or under home isolation and 1.53 per cent are death cases,” the ministry added.

The percentage of active cases in the country is 11.69 per cent of which 11 per cent are in Kerala, 25 per cent are in Maharashtra and 13 per cent are in Karnataka. “We are conducting discussions with these states to figure out a way to curb the COVID-19 cases, the health secretary said.

Fourteen states and Union Territories have higher test per million and lower positivity rate than India average, Bhushan said, adding, “10 states account for 79 per cent of total active COVID-19 cases in the country. Maharashtra accounts for 25.38 per cent active cases, Kerala is a later entrant with 11.26 per cent active cases in the state.”