If you thought that the coronavirus pandemic must be subsiding because the lockdown has been lifted and people are returning to their workplaces and there are fewer restrictions on movement, you are very wrong. The pandemic in India has not even reached its peak.
The worst is yet to come. Why? Read on to know what the experts have to say about India’s situation and the future that awaits us.
The present situation in India
Almost every other day, India is recording its highest single-day spike in COVID-19 cases. The latest one-day infection count is 40,118, which takes India’s total tally to above 12 Lakh. More than 28,000 people have succumbed to the pandemic. Both case count and fatality are increasing by the day.
However, the Union Health Ministry cited a WHO Situation Report to state that India still has one of the world’s lowest fatality rates per million.
The Ministry also claimed that in India the cases per million rate is also very low compared to other countries like China, Peru, Italy, Great Britain etc. But this could be because testing isn’t done as rigorously in India like other countries. At present 6500 tests for every 1 million people are conducted in India daily. The Government has said that nearly 2.6 Lakh samples are being sent to diagnostic labs for testing on a daily basis.
India has determinedly improved its infrastructure to deal with the pandemic. There are 1201 COVID hospitals all over the country, 2611 COVID specific healthcare facilities and 9909 COVID care centres. But, you might have read in the papers or heard in the news that hospitals and facilities are running out of beds for patients and only people with severe cases of COVID-19 are being taken in and the rest are being urged to self-isolate themselves in their home. This will give you an idea as to how dire the situation is.
Fortunately, recovery rates too are increasing. More than 7.5 Lakh people have recovered and been discharged. The current recovery rate is 63.27 %.
And yet the fear of a surge is very real
COVID-19 is here to stay until a vaccine is invented that can immunize the population. But since we can’t wait that long and continue with a lockdown because of the devastating effect it has on the economy, people are going out. And this is the primary reason why infection rates are not subsiding.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) conducted a study based on data collected from 84 countries that constitute 60% of the world population. They found that by February 2021, as many as 2.87 Lakh people could get infected every day in India.
According to this study, India will overtake the US when it comes to the daily increase of caseload. Caseload globally will reach anything between 20-60 crore by then.
The situation looks grim for India. The study also said that case count could be lowered not just by extensive testing but the willingness of the people of the country to cooperate and follow sanitation and isolation norms as much as possible.
The MIT researchers said that both infection rates and fatality rates worldwide are under-reported and in reality could be 11.8 and 1.48 times higher respectively.
What other studies are saying
Other studies and surveys are painting as grim a picture for India as the MIT one.
Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai found that the transmission rate has increased drastically for the first time since early March. COVID-19 reproduction rate or R refers to the number of people who get infected from 1 person. Currently, it stands at 1.19. R has to be less than 1 to flatten the curve.
The BBC also believes India to be the next COVID-19 hotspot of the world.
Things might get worse with passing time. But do not panic. Do whatever you can to stop the spread. Maintain social distancing and COVID-19 hygiene and only go out when necessary. Let us all be responsible citizens & continue fighting this pandemic together!