As parts of the world brace for a second wave of Covid-19 infections, Large parts of Europe are in a second lockdown as a new wave of infection sweeps through the continent.
But India’s situation looks much different for Now. Reported infections, deaths and the share of people testing positive have all fallen significantly. By contrast, infections in Europe and the United States are surging.
Is the situation really getting better in India?
Those who are following the daily updates of Coronavirus in various states in the country must know this that situation is far from better. After Diwali, there’s a significant increase in the number of cases especially in Delhi, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
The number of daily new cases peaked just short of the 100,000 mark on September 10 (when 99,181 new cases were reported). This was followed by a decreasing trend in the daily new cases till the end of October before the rate of decrease slowed and the curve of daily new cases flattened.
The trajectory that the graph of the daily new cases in India is following — it first rose to a peak, then decreased and is now stagnant — has been similar to that in other big countries which have seen subsequent waves of the pandemic as well.
Active Covid cases in India rose again on Tuesday, the third increase in the past four days, as fresh infections recorded in the country outnumbered recoveries by more than 5,500. This was the highest single-day increase in active cases since October 1, a sign that the pandemic could be on the rise again in the country.
Time will tell how the case trajectory in India moves, but data from several of India’s big states other than Delhi shows that the cases there have started to increase in the last fortnight. These states include Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab.
Union territory Chandigarh has also shown a slightly increasing trend in daily new cases. These states and Delhi are home to nearly a quarter of India’s population. Three of these states — Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan — were among those that led the first wave of the pandemic in the country.
How bad will the wave be?
India is far better prepared to handle a surge in Covid-19 cases than it was when the infection first started spreading. The country also has more resources for testing. The world in general is now better aware of what treatments work and how to handle the symptomatic and asymptomatic cases. India’s monthly case fatality rate — new deaths as a share of new cases — has been decreasing over time: It was 3.24% in April but fell to 1.15% in October.
But even as the country may be better prepared and more aware, a steep surge in cases could overburden the country’s health care infrastructure and thereby lead to higher fatality rates. This makes it all the way more important to take precautions such as wearing a face mask and maintaining social distancing norms.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic could be stopped if at least 70 per cent of the public wore face masks consistently, according to a review of studies which suggests that the type of material used and the duration of mask use play key roles in their effectiveness.