A Few Concerns As India Cross 9 Million COVID-19 Cases!

India has crossed the 9 million COVID-19 cases mark today, taking 22 days for the last million increase as against 19 days for the previous millon cases. The recovery rate has almost reached 94% with active cases falling below 4,50,000. A few days back daily new cases fell below the 30,000 mark that was consistent only for two days, and new additions had again picked up. In the last twenty four hours total number of new cases was at 45, 882. Total deaths that started falling below 500 also picked up, and for the last twenty four hours 584 Coronavirus patients had died which is a bit worrying despite the fatality rate consistently at around 1.5%. 

The increased numbers of daily new cases and daily deaths are largely due to record spikes in Delhi and high-volume numbers in Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana and Haryana. In states like Gujarat, Manipur and a few others the renewed spikes have raised a concern. In fact, the Government of India has appointed special high-level teams to study the pandemic situation in Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Manipur. 

Basic reasons for the spikes could be due to the Diwali impact, pandemic fatigue, reduced numbers of testing, the pollution and the winter season in most regions. Delhi government has imposed more restrictions and tightened implementation while Gujarat has again resorted to night curfew from 9 pm to 6 am daily from today in several cities. In the state capital of Ahmedabad curfew is imposed for the weekend from this evening. The government of Maharashtra is also mulling over strict measures in anticipation of a second wave as daily numbers in the state are rising again: daily new cases that came down to around 2500 have again risen over 5000 with over 5500 new cases recorded in the last twenty four hours; and daily fatality figures that came down to as low as 70 have crossed 150 as of today. Schools that are to open after Diwali will now not reopen this year.

News on the COVID-19 vaccine front has been comforting though. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine  has been proved safe and effective in the elderly population, and this vaccine is likely to be available for all by April 2021. Its Indian counterpart Covishield is being priced at 1000 rupees per two doses as disclosed by the Serum Institute of India. India's own Covaxin is likely to be launched by February 2021 as we pointed out in an earlier piece here. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine could reach people even by coming  Christmas; however, so far there has been no tie-up for its distribution in India. 

People need to be patient till the vaccines arrive and thus contribute towards the final victory over the killer virus. All of humankind has suffered for the last one year in the most unprecedented ways, and therefore citizens must understand the utmost need of following the norms, for a few months more.


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