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Winter could bring rise in COVID-19 cases: DAK


SRINAGAR: With the sudden surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in Kashmir valley for the last few days, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Monday said the winter months could bring a rise in the number of coronavirus cases.

“We could see a further spike in cases,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement said. “However, the number of severe cases and hospitalization will be considerably less than that of last winter,” he added. The DAK President said cold and drier conditions of winter are pretty favourable to viral stability.

“Covid-19 tends to thrive in cooler conditions and survives outside better when it is cold,” he said. Dr Hassan said low humidity during winter is the main driver of virus transmission. In environments with low humidity, the virus stays suspended for much longer in the air which increases the risk of transmission.

Quoting a study from the University of Sydney, he said, for every 1 per cent drop in humidity, the number of Covid-19 cases could increase by 6 per cent.

“In winter, we have less direct sunlight and Covid-19 survives longer in environments of decreased sunlight,” he added. Dr Nisar said winter is also the time when people tend to spend more time indoors when ventilation is less and social distancing is not so easily achieved.

“That would allow Covid-19 to spread more easily,” he said. General Secretary DAK Dr Arshad Ali said Jammu and Kashmir (JK) has a large proportion of the population who are unvaccinated. As of November 8, 2021, 45% of the population in JK has been fully vaccinated. This means we have around 55% of the population who are susceptible, and that is enough to sustain the virus.

“In order to prevent the revival of Covid-19, we need to vaccinate 80-90% of the population,” he said—(KNO)


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