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Coronavirus Outbreak

India Crosses 3 Million COVID-19 Cases, Top Doctors Explain The Spike In Numbers

According to WHO, India has been recording highest number of daily cases of coronavirus for last 22 days, top doctors explain the road ahead as the country crossed the grim milestone of 3 million COVID cases

India Crosses 3 Million COVID-19 Cases, Top Doctors Explain The Spike In Numbers
Highlights
  • India’s total coronavirus cases crossed the 3 million mark on Monday 
  • Total COVID cases so far in the country are 33.1 lakh
  • India from last 22 days have been recording highest number of daily cases

New Delhi: This week, India crossed the grim milestone of 3 million COVID-19 cases with its overall tally going up to 32,34,474 as of August 26. States like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are the country’s biggest contributors to the overall growing COVID-19 numbers in India. That’s not all, India holds a dubious distinction of being a country with a highest number of news cases getting added daily in the world for 18 days in a row. On Wednesday,  India has reported 75,760 cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, marking the biggest daily rise in the country, according to the Union Health Ministry data. India’s current trajectory is far more worrying than countries like the USA and Brazil – according to the data studied by NDTV, India has by far the highest daily percentage increase than any other country. India’s 7-day moving average is 2.5% in terms of new cases, whereas for USA it is 0.9% and for Brazil it is 1.6%.

Also Read: 6 Months On, A Recap Of How The Coronavirus Pandemic Unfolded

To understand India’s current coronavirus status and the surge in COVID-19 cases, NDTV spoke to some of the top doctors about the road ahead:
Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman, Medanta said the surge in India’s coronavirus numbers was expected and added,

First is the point that our population is 3 and 4 times higher than any other nation we are comparing coronavirus numbers with. Second, the surge in COVID cases started with Mumbai and Delhi with the first batch of travellers coming to these cities, now if you look at Delhi, today the city is showing a downward trend – from 4,000 cases a day we are at 1,000 cases a day. Mumbai also is showing early signs of flattening the curve, then there were states that did not get the brunt of coronavirus and they actually felt very comfortable with a point on how well they have contained it only to find out now that coronavirus is affecting them as much as any other state. So, what happened is very crucial for everyone to understand – One, coronavirus has an R-O factor 3 attached to it, which means one infected person will pass on the virus to three other people, they will infect 9 other people, which further will infect 27 and the number will go on. Secondly, if your guard is down, where people believe, coronavirus will not infect them as it is not in their area and they can relax that’s when the problem begins.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: Here’s India’s Current COVID-19 Status, Using The ‘R’ Rate Method

Coronavirus till date has no treatment and the only way people can stay safe and healthy is by staying at home and by taking all the necessary precautions at all times, Dr Naresh Trehan warned. He adds,

We don’t have a vaccine, we have also not reached the herd immunity stage, so what do we do..For now, each and every person in the world has just three things in hand – masks, social distancing and hand hygiene. Unless population of India adopts this very thing as their dharma, we will continue to see the surge in coronavirus cases.

Also Read: Explainer: Reaching Herd Immunity In A Viral Pandemic

India’s Testing Numbers And The Way Forward 

Talking about India’s testing number, which has increased over the period of time, Dr Rajesh Malhotra, Chief of COVID facility at AIIMS Delhi, said it is definitely a silver lining for the country, India is doing more than 1 million testS a day for the first time, he added,

We know, we can’t hold on to our lives, economy needs to start, people need to start going to offices, in all this, the biggest key will be our testing and contact tracing – these are the two factors which will work for us till the time we have vaccine for coronavirus.

Explaining what India needs at this moment is a technology which will help give test results for COVID rapidly to the patients, Dr Rajesh Malhotra said,

AIIMS hospital has graduated from using RT-PCR tests that gives result in 4-5 hours to a test which gives test results within 1 hour, this has reduceD the time for patients in emergency. Currently, if we can work on a test that can further reduce the time of getting the COVID-19 test result, it will come very handy in our fight against coronavirus.

Dr Naresh Trehan reiterated the same thing added,

Something which gives you an instant result, obviously that will be A great relief, but at the same time, we all need to go with one fact and that is if the population of 1.3 billion starts to become careless in the fight against coronavirus then there is ‘hell’ to pay. Therefore, people need to be careful and take all precautions at all the times.

Sero-Surveys – What Do They Tell?

Currently, India has seen sero-surveys happening around many cities – Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Ahmedabad. Delhi’s recent sero-survey analysis show that 29 per cent of people surveyed are exposed to COVID, whereas in Pune, it was 50 per cent of people who have been exposed to the virus. Are these surveys suggesting that India is reaching towards the herd immunity?

Dr Rajesh Malhotra added,

We need to realise that India is a very big country and these surveys are happening in the pockets of few cities, covering very less people. For a country like India, to reach the level of herd immunity, we will need to infect more than 60 crore people out there, so we can imagine the magnitude. Now, if we are surveying out of 1.3 billion people, around 6000 or lesser number of people and making assumption that India is nearing herd immunity than it is wrong.

Also Read: WHO’s Chief Hopes To Finish Coronavirus Pandemic In Less Than Two Years, Experts Weigh In

What Do We Know About Vaccine? 

Dr Naresh Trehan said it is too early to certify anything and where the world is in terms of coronavirus vaccine. He Added,

We hope we can have the vaccine as soon as possible but it will take time as it needs to go through multiple levels of scientific validations.

Explaining the stages of vaccine production and how it will be distributed once we finally have a vaccine for coronavirus, Dr Trehan said,

Once we have a vaccine, it will take close to 2 to 3 years for the production to produce the number of dosage we require to cover our entire population. At the very beginning, the vulnerable population will get the vaccine which will have your elderly and people with co-morbidities. Once we will cover that population we will also have a fair idea of how safe the vaccine is and how effective it is. Then the other stages and group of people will be covered, India is the biggest manufacturer of vaccines, so it will not take that much time to produce vaccine.

India’s Coronavirus Cases

The fresh cases have pushed the country’s coronavirus tally to over 33.1 lakh cases. 25,23,771 patients have recovered from the infection in the country, taking the recovery rate to 76.24 per cent. Maharashtra remains the hardest-hit state in the pandemic, accounting for 7,18,711 cases. Maharashtra remains the hardest-hit, accounting for 7,03,823 cases, followed by three southern states, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Currently, India is the country with the third-highest coronavirus caseload in the world after the United States and Brazil. According to the World Health Organization, for the last 22 days, India has been seeing the highest number of daily cases of coronavirus in the world.

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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