India Cross 8 Million COVID-19 Cases Amid A Much-Improved Scenario!


India, the second worst-hit country of the world, has crossed the imposing 8 million COVID-19 cases mark today, but the situation now is much more improved than in the previous spikes. It has taken about 19 days for this million-cases increase whereas it was 15 days for the earlier one. In the month of August India added 2 million new cases while in September about 3 million, and fortunately, the much-awaited peak was reached in the third week of September after which the curve has been showing signs of flattening. For the last 3-4 days spikes in daily new cases have been below the 50 thousand mark with daily deaths hovering around 500. For the last twenty-four hours there were 49881 new COVID-19 cases and 517 deaths. More significantly, recovery rate has increased to 91% with total recoveries being more than 7.3 million. Fatality rate is at 1.5%. Total deaths in the country are 1,20,527 now. Maharashtra, the worst-affected state in India, has been showing consistent improvement with recoveries much more than new cases daily, and perhaps in months, the daily fatality figure was less than hundred at 91 for the last twenty-four hours.


This writer has moved around the city of Mumbai in the last few days and was very happy to see people, in all fields of activity, going back to normal ways; but following strict social norms. The Government of Maharashtra has not ushered in full unlocking yet, rightly so, with places of worship, schools and colleges, cinema halls still under shutters. The local train services are also running partially to cater to essential-sector office-goers and workers. The Metro trains have also started, but in the same limited way. All around the country too the sense of normalcy after months of crisis is really heartening and joyful.


A few states and union territories are still a major worry: Kerala, Karnataka and West Bengal are still registering huge daily spikes, more than the daily recoveries, and Delhi has recorded the highest spike ever of around 5600 new cases in in the last twenty-four hours. In few other states the situation is still volatile as the cases may surge again.


Experts list out four major factors that can trigger a second wave: festival season, approaching winter, increasing pollution and growing fatigue or complacency in wearing masks and following social distancing. We can add here the case of elections too, currently on in Bihar and in two other states to follow soon. Dignitaries of the government of India including the Prime Minister justifiably urge citizens to strictly follow the norms, but at the same time allow huge congregations in the public election rallies. Such behaviors rob them of their right to preach. With Diwali, the biggest festival of the country, coming to be celebrated during 12-15th November the challenge of ensuring a plateau for the pandemic spread is really very big, and any kind of preaching/issuing advisories must set the right examples.


At this juncture, with its curve of infection steadying down, India may not overtake the worst affected country of the world, USA, where total COVID-19 cases have reached around 8.9 million, in the foreseeable future. Further, the US along with many European nations are experiencing a second wave, and the specter of more lockdowns are haunting the people. Citizens of India must understand this, and therefore must follow the new normal with dedication so that they and their economy do not suffer all over again. Some experts with the government panel had earlier opined that with effective controls in place the pandemic in India may really peter out by February 2021.


The ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) has recently said that the BCG vaccine could provide an effective COVID-19 treatment in the elderly group of people, from 60 to 80 years of age; this good news is based on its study of the vaccine in the elderly citizens. This surely adds to the overall air of optimism in the country, and it is, to repeat, as much a duty of the citizens as of the governments to show the SARS-Cov-2 virus the exit door from India.


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