Balram Bhargava, Director, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said on Thursday that Covid vaccines are not 'disease-preventing' but 'disease-modifying', so it is important to continue wearing masks even after the second dose of vaccination.
Bhargava was addressing a press conference of the Union Health Ministry on the Covid situation in the country.
"Vaccines reduce disease severity, possibility of hospitalisation and also avert deaths to the tune of 98-99 per cent. Full vaccination offers protection against severe disease and death and should be a pre-requisite if attending a gathering," Bhargav said.
Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that India is still under the grip of the second Covid wave.
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In the past 24 hours, India logged 46,000 fresh Covid cases, of which 58 per cent were reported from Kerala alone, Bhushan said.
Stressing that India has shown a declining trend in its daily Covid trajectory, Bhushan said the country has around 3.33 lakh active cases while the recovery rate continues to be over 97 per cent.
He added that India's weekly positivity rate has remained below 3 per cent for eight consecutive weeks now.
However, a total of 41 districts are reporting over 10 per cent positivity rate currently, he said, adding that 31 states have less than 10,000 active Covid cases, four states have 10,000 to 1 lakh active cases, while the active caseload of Kerala is over 1 lakh.
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Kerala accounts for 51 per cent of India's active cases at present, followed by Maharashtra at 16 per cent.