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Religious, Political Events Factors Behind India’s COVID Spike: WHO

United Nation: A recent risk assessment of India’s situation found that “resurgence and acceleration” of COVID-19 transmission in the country had several potential contributing factors, including “several religious and political mass gathering events which increased social mixing.”

In its COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update published on Wednesday, the WHO said that viruses in the B.1.617 lineage were first reported in India in October 2020.

“The resurgence in COVID-19 cases and deaths in India has raised questions on the potential role of B.1.617 and other variants (e.g., B.1.1.7) in circulation,” the update read.

“A recent risk assessment of the situation in India conducted by WHO found that resurgence and acceleration of COVID-19 transmission in India had several potential contributing factors, including increase in the proportion of cases of SARS-CoV-2 variants with potentially increased transmissibility; several religious and political mass gathering events which increased social mixing; and, under use of and reduced adherence to public health and social measures (PHSM). The exact contributions of these each of these factors on increased transmission in India are not well understood,” it said.

According to the WHO update, “the prevalence of several VOCs including B.1.1.7 and B.1.612 sublineages increased concurrent to the surge in COVID-19 cases reported in India.”

“Since the identification of these variants through late April 2021, B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 accounted for 21% and 7% of sequenced samples from India,” the update said.

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