- On Monday, India’s coronavirus tally went past 42 lakh cases
- India is currently the second worst hit country by COVID-19
- Experts cite India’s low mortality rate as a positive sign
New Delhi: India has surpassed Brazil to become world’s second worst-hit country by the coronavirus pandemic, with daily increase of COVID cases now going past 90,000. On Monday, according to the Health Ministry data, the country recorded a daily spike of 90,802 cases taking the country’s total covid-19 cases tally past 42 lakh. This is the second consecutive day that the country registered over 90,000 new infections in 24 hours. Currently, about 8.82 lakh cases in the country are active (20.9 per cent of the total cases) and the recovery rate stands at 77 per cent.
NDTV speaks with experts to understand the continuous surge in India’s COVID-19 cases and understand the road ahead for the country.
Talking about are the current coronavirus number worrying and when will India flatten the curve as coronavirus cases in the country seems to be increasing fast, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria said,
The increasing coronavirus numbers are a cause of great concern. One, if they continue to increase at the current speed then it may cause a strain in our healthcare system, which might lead to pressure on hospitals currently treating COVID-19 patients. Secondly, we are now moving into a stage where COVID fatigue behaviour among people is setting in and now we are seeing that lot of people have moved away from general coronavirus essential practices like physical distancing, masking and maintaining a hand hygiene. Now that the unlocking has started in the country there is more and more need for these essential things than ever but people are currently not doing these as aggressively as they were doing in the first two months of the outbreak.
Dr Guleria also said that India will continue to see the rise in the cases for some time and after that only the country will be able to flatten the curve. He added,
The problem currently is that the pandemic has reached to the smaller cities or areas and not just confined to the urban parts of the country and that is one of the major reasons, why we are seeing such a spike in the country.
Highlighting the silver lining despite the huge spike in India’s coronavirus number, Dr Guleria said that India’s mortality or fatality is still very low as compared to what the world has seen in New York, Italy or Spain. He said,
There are various theories for why India is seeing a lower mortality rate than other countries and the most accepted one is that we are a country of more younger people and it is a known fact now that coronavirus affects younger population mildly and as a result the mortality is much lower in them. Also, there may be some inherited immunity as other parts of coronavirus have been circulating in this part of the world and there may be some cross immunity which we may be getting from the past few viruses outbreak.
Talking about the death or fatality rate in the country and the way ahead, Dr. Velumani founder and M.D of Thyrocare said,
India might be the second worst hit country from the pandemic but when we see the death rate it is much lower as compared to the other nations. India is the 88th country when it comes to the deaths due to COVID and it has 50 deaths per million population, whereas in Europe or United States the death rate is somewhere 500 per million. But having said that, I also think coronavirus will infect each one of us sooner or later – it is such kind of the virus. We had the most strong lockdown and there are some areas which still are under some kind of lockdown, this can only delay the virus infection but cannot stop it completely. The message for today is that people need not to worry from this virus, they need to learn to live with it as it will stay with us for a long long time. What we need to do is, we need to get going with our routine activities with all the necessary precautions.
On the other hand, Dr. Om Shrivastav, Director Infectious Diseases, HIV medicine and Immunology, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre said that when India will be able to flatten the curve is something no one knows the answer to and we all can be optimistic that it will be in the near future but we cannot tell or define the date or time. He added,
We should not be too worried about the numbers, the surge will happen, it is natural, as we as a country are unlocking itself, secondly, we are testing more people, so the numbers will increase. But, what we should look at is the recovery rate, we know that about 85 to 90 per cent people who are tested with coronavirus recover, mere 10 per cent patients will have to go to hospitals and out of that 10 per cent, around 5 per cent will require ICU. The focus should be on treating the severe patients and making sure there are enough beds and facilities to treat them. Lastly, there are just the basic three things, we all need to practice and these are – masking, social distancing and maintaining good hand hygiene.
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 (Water, Sanitation 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 pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.