India Register The Lowest COVID-19 Daily Cases In Six Months As The Festival Season Looms Ahead!
For the last 3-4 days India have been registering less than 30,000 daily COVID-19 cases with daily fatalities also reducing. A lot of hope is being generated now as the country has seen less than twenty thousand cases in the last 24 hours, 18,795 to be exact, which is the lowest in six months, and the daily deaths have also come down to 179 fatalities in the same period. The state of Kerala is still leading, but the daily infections that had reached more than thirty thousand recently are 11699 in the last 24 hours and the daily fatalities that had overtaken Maharashtra crossing the 200 mark have come down to 58 in the same period. Maharashtra, the worst affected state in India with over 6 million total infections, has also registered less than 3000 cases in the last 24 hours which is the lowest since February 2021 and the deaths at 32 during the same period. Only two other states, Tamil Nadu and Mizoram, are still showing a rising trend of daily cases; all of the rest of India seem to be doing well in all respects: as per a recent report of the Government of India the positivity rate is over 5% in only 23 districts of the country.
To add to the positive scenario the country has crossed the required 10-million mark in daily vaccine jabs for the 5th time—recently crossing the unexpected 20-million mark on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday. However, to achieve the target of vaccinating the whole country by December this year the rate needs to be sustained consistently on a daily basis, rather than concentrating on special days to jack up the jabs just to please the authorities examples of which could be seen in the recent past too. No doubt, the Government has been trying very hard to improve its image after the disastrous handling of the Second Wave of the Pandemic that killed hundreds of thousands of infected people, but the realities must be faced at all times in a totally non-political way. If the second wave is finally concluding the Government must ensure that the much-feared Third Wave is never allowed to take off. More than 80% of the country’s population has been given at least one jab; but the India-made Covaxin is yet to be approved by the World Health Organization for emergency use, particularly in light of the restrictions imposed rather irrationally by the United Kingdom for Indian travelers.
There are various concerns though about the future course of the pandemic in India and if it can be controlled till early part of 2022 then only we too can be sure of being able to shake off the third wave and being assured by the ‘endemic theory’ that effectively ruled out further countrywide spread of the virus. Buoyed by the less than 5% positivity rate seen in most parts of the country, the speeded up vaccination and a new vaccine for children above the age of 12 to be available anytime soon, the states are opening up almost completely, this is being endorsed by the experts too. Quite a few of them have reopened schools and colleges and the worst-affected Maharashtra has also decided to reopen schools from 22nd October and also reopen cinema halls/auditoriums from the same date. This combined with the looming festival season that would last till February 2022 poses as the biggest challenge for the fight against COVID-19. This is indeed going to be the litmus test. The Government of India has sounded restrictions in crowding, particularly in Durga Puja pandals, in districts where the positivity rate is still higher than 5%. However, considering the extended festivities to come we cannot rule out or be complacent about possible exponential rise again in the other states too. Therefore, the overwhelming needs remain to be strictly following COVID appropriate behaviour, avoiding big gatherings/parties and staying away from unnecessary travel or pleasure trips. The next 3-4 months are going to be crucial.