NEW DELHI: It's not the young or old, but "irresponsible people" not adhering to COVID-19 norms, who are driving the pandemic in the country, Indian Council of Medical Research director-general Dr Balram Bhargava said on Tuesday.
"I wouldn't say young or old but less cautious people who are not wearing masks are driving the pandemic in India," the ICMR chief said in response to a question in a press briefing on COVID-19 outbreak management in the country.
A second round of national serosurvey to check for the real COVID-19 infection size will be completed by September first week, he announced.
Sources in the National Institute of Epidemiology, which will lead the survey, said that the exercise will be carried out in the same 70 districts across 21 states where it was done the last time.
The study will involve testing 28,000 samples for antibodies against SARS CoV 2, the virus that causes COVID-19 with 400 samples collected from every district surveyed.
“The idea is to check the growth in the real infection size, as compared to the last time and therefore the same districts where the situation might have changed from the last survey,” said a scientist with the ICMR-NIE.
However, this time, the scientist added, more than one sample per family will be collected and adolescents will also be included.
Dr Bhargava in a press briefing on COVID-19 management said that the full paper from the last national serosurvey, carried out in May, which had shown an average seroprevalence of less than 1 per cent, has been peer-reviewed twice and will be published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research by the end of this week.
This national survey follows various such seroprevalence studies carried out in high-burden cities such as Mumbai, Delhi and Pune over the last few weeks which have shown that the cases detected so far are a small fraction of the real infection exposure.
Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in the press conference, meanwhile stressed that while tests for detection of Covid-19 have increased exponentially, there has been a steady decline in the country's positivity rate.
"Recovered COVID-19 cases are 3.4 times the number of active cases in the country," he also said.
For the first time, the country's active cases of COVID-19 have reduced by 6,423 within a span of 24 hours, the official said, adding that the active cases are only 22.2per cent of the total cases.
The recovery rate is now more than 75 per cent and 2.7 per cent of active cases of coronavirus patients are on oxygen support, 1.92 per cent in ICU and 0.29 per cent on ventilators.
"COVID-19 testing improved from 363 tests per million per day on August 1 to more than 600 tests per million per day at present. On the basis of seven-day rolling average, COVID-19 positivity rate was 11 per cent in the first week of August, and has come down to 8 per cent today," said Bhushan.