It has been more than a year since the very first case of Covid-19 was registered in India. With 53,476 cases in a day, India witnessed the biggest single-day surge in the Covid-19 cases in nearly five months. Maharashtra is said to have recorded the highest single day spike since the beginning of the pandemic. The western states of Maharashtra accounts for nearly 70% of the total nationwide cases. Between 15th March to 21st March India reported nearly 100,000 more cases than the previous week. Today, India stands at 11.8 million Covid-19 cases out of which 95.49 percent have been cured, 1.37percent cases have succumbed to the virus and 3.14 percent are active.
Our country saw a dip in the cases in the beginning of 2021 with less than 15,000 cases per day from the peak of nearly 90,000 cases per day in September 2020, but now as India sees a second way coming its way, it is worrisome to everyone especially the civilians who are anxious about having to face another stringent lockdown.
Source: Ministry of Health, Government of India
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in a media briefing “Two states are of grave concern, that have shown a recent surge in cases- Maharashtra and Punjab, that reported more than 28,000 cases in the last 24 hours and Punjab, that is reporting huge number of cases in proportion to its population.”
States like Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, and Gujarat have seen sharp uptick in new cases. Rajesh Bhushan also said that surging cases in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat is also a grave concern with most cases concentrated in Surat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Bhavnagar and Rajkot and cases in Madhya Pradesh concentrated in Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur, Ujjain and Betul. He also stated that nine out of ten districts with most active cases are in Maharashtra namely Pune, Nagpur, Mumbai, Thane, Nasik, Aurangabad, Bengaluru Urban, Nanded, Jalgaon and Akola.
Several states like Maharashtra and Delhi have also banned gathering on Holi to control the spread of the virus. But the Government needs to work on the “test, track, treat” strategy to control the surge in the cases. The Maharashtra government has also said they will carry out random rapid testing in crowded areas such as malls and train stations. The civilians also need to follow the protocols levied by the state governments such as mandatory use of mask in public places and maintaining social distancing.
The Health ministry also said that a new “Double mutant variant” of SARS CoV-2 has been detected across 18 states in India in addition to the other variants of the strain found across the world. Large number of cases have been linked to the “double mutant” strain; around 20 percent have been reported from Maharashtra. States like Delhi, Gujarat and Punjab have also reported cases with the new strain. It has been said that the “double mutation” apparently allows the virus to escape from the body’s immune system and make itself resistant to the immune system.
Talking about the Covid vaccination in India, the Government has successfully begun the vaccination drive from 16th January 2021. In over two months 8,299,171 people which makes up to 0.61% of the total population of India have been fully vaccinated. While 44,846,538 people that makes up to 3.28% of the total population of our country have taken at least one dose of the vaccine. The government aims to vaccinate 250 million “Priority people” by the end of July 2021. Over 5.31Cr vaccine doses have been administered across the country and more than 23 Lakh doses have been given in the last 24 hours” tweeted Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Health and Family Welfare. This is perhaps the largest vaccination drive in the entire world. Earlier people with the age above 60 could get the vaccination but due to the rising cases the government has decided that from 1st April 2021, people above 45 years of age can get themselves vaccinated. The Health Ministry stated that “About 88 percent of all the Covid-19 deaths in the country are taking place in the age group of 45 years and above, making them the most vulnerable group that needs to be protected.”
India has not only started vaccinating its own people but has also sent 464.29 Lakh made-in-India Covid vaccines to over 47 countries in the world and all the leaders have lauded this act calling it a genuine demonstration of generosity. The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda also said, “I have to admit that this is easily one of the most notable acts of benevolence that we have seen in the last 100 years.”
Critical care expert Dr. A Fathaudeen cites “a False notion of optimism swept the country when caseloads decreased”. However, the surging cases are a matter of Vaccine does not assure that normal times will come soon. It is a long and even a tougher battle ahead. India is seeing a second wave of Covid-19 with even more dangerous mutants of the virus but with a great leadership and responsible civilians together, we can win any war.