What has happened?
- The second wave of coronavirus infections is spreading rapidly in India and the cases may continue to rise for the next few days.
- On Monday, India reported 68,020 new infections, its biggest surge since October last year. The total cases in the country have now crossed the 12-million mark.
- Even though the ongoing surge is restricted to limited areas, as many as ten states have started showing an upward trajectory in daily new infections.
First vs Second wave
- The recent spurt in Covid infections is more rapid than the previous wave in September-October last year.
- During the first wave, it took 32 days for the cases to rise from 18,000 to 50,000.
- However, the cases have risen at nearly double the pace in the second wave. It took a mere 17 days for the cases to rise from 18,377 on March 11 to 50,518 on March 27 this year.
- In Maharashtra, it took 31 days for the daily cases to rise from 11,000 to 21,900 during the first wave.
- The same rise took a mere 9 days this time.
- The positivity rate, which is an indication of the spread of virus in the community, has breached the 21% mark in the state,
- Indicating that the virus could be far more widespread than what the figures reveal.
Number of active cases too at record level
- The total number of active cases in the country crossed the 5 lakh mark on Sunday.
- It took a mere 4 days for active cases to soar from 4 lakh to 5 lakh — making it the fastest rise in one lakh active case since the beginning of the pandemic.
- Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh —
- Cumulatively account for 17% of the total active cases in the country.
- In the past week, Covid-19 related deaths have also increased by 51% — the sharpest rise since December 21-27.
- The country has been reporting more than 200 deaths per day for the last six days.
Will things get worse?
- The number of cases is likely to rise further in the wake of relaxed restrictions, the festive season and assembly elections in four states and one Union Territory.
- India saw its daily infections peak once it gradually began relaxing restrictions following a strict lockdown.
- This time around, most of the economy has already opened up and restrictions are largely relaxed.
- In fact, some states like Maharashtra and Punjab have started reimposing curbs to control the situation.
- However, in the absence of a strict lockdown, the virus is likely to spread at a greater pace than last year.
- Moreover, the discovery of new strains of the virus, which are reportedly more transmissible, have also raised concerns.
What is different this time?
- Unlike the previous wave when vaccine candidates were still in various stages of development, India now has two vaccines— Covishield and Covaxin.
- Even though the country is far away from achieving herd immunity, the ongoing vaccination drive is likely to make a difference in the fight against the pandemic.
- The Union health ministry said that most of the deaths related to coronavirus were occurring among the people aged above 45.
- With India opening up its inoculation drive to include all those above 45 from April 1, the country will be able to protect its most vulnerable groups against the virus.
- So far, the country has administered over 60 million doses and fully vaccinated nearly 8.87 million people — nearly 0.65% of the total population.