We all must have read the news that WHO Chief Scientist have made a statement that “India may be entering endemic stage of Covid”
So what implication does it have for us or what does it mean. For that, we need to understand few terms and terminologies. Let us understand more about the three terms- Epidemic, Pandemic and Endemic.
Epidemic is a disease that affects a large number of people within a community, population, or region. For example, when the Covid-19 was first detected and was limited to Wuhan, it was an Epidemic- which is spread across a limited region and population.
So what is the difference between Epidemic and Pandemic? A simple way to know the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic is to remember the “P” in pandemic, which means a pandemic has a passport. A pandemic is an epidemic that travels. So for example, when the Epidemic spreads out to a large scale of population across a bigger geography and demography, it is called a Pandemic.
Epidemic vs Endemic
But what’s the difference between epidemic and endemic? An epidemic is actively spreading; new cases of the disease substantially exceed what is expected. More broadly, it’s used to describe any problem that’s out of control, such as “the opioid epidemic.” An epidemic is often localized to a region, but the number of those infected in that region is significantly higher than normal. For example, when COVID-19 was limited to Wuhan, China, it was an epidemic. The geographical spread turned it into a pandemic.
Endemics, on the other hand, are a constant presence in a specific location. Example:-Malaria is endemic to parts of Africa. It means that the population has learnt to live with the disease and the level of transmission is somewhat predictable.
So what does it mean for us?
The situation in India will continue with ups and downs considering the size and heterogeneity of the population and their immunity status. Hence only the vulnerable population where there are low levels of vaccine coverage can see peaks and troughs for the next several months. So the take home message is that, vaccination is they to halt the progression of the infection. Wearing masks and social distancing are the physical precautions that needs to taken.