New Delhi: For the past four days, India has been setting a global trend by recording the highest single-day surge in Coronavirus cases. At a time when many countries have flattened the Coronavirus curve, what is then causing rise in cases in India? Experts say that the surge can be attributed to two factors; 1) increased testing on one hand 2) opening of the economy on the other accompanied by complacency among people towards following Covid-appropriate behaviour. Notably, the country witnessed over five lakh cases in a week. Today, India registered a spike of 78,761 cases, pushing the total infection tally in the country to 35,42,733. Also Read - Corona Vaccine Latest News: Does Govt Have 80K Cr to Buy & Distribute Vaccine, Asks Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla
Speaking to news agency PTI, Dr Samiran Panda, the head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said this increase in cases was expected but pointed out that it is not a homogenous phenomenon across the states. “It is happening in some pockets and among groups where there is an intermixing of the susceptible population and asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic cases which is leading to a transmission of the disease. So, efforts have to be made to interrupt this transmission in these pockets,” Dr Panda said. Also Read - This Vitamin Can Reduce Risk of Complications in COVID-19 Positive Patients
Also, testing has been ramped up exponentially which is leading to more number of cases getting detected, he said. Also Read - Jodhpur Lockdown News: Total Shutdown Imposed in The District Amid Rising Number of COVID-19 Cases | What's Allowed, What's Prohibited
“Further, with the opening up of the economy and people’s movement increasing, some complacency is being seen among people towards following Covid-appropriate behaviour which is also contributing to the rise in cases,” Panda said as he stressed on the need for a sustained Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.
Leading virologist Shahid Jameel said that people are not following advisories on wearing masks, hand hygiene and social distancing. “This is driven by a complacency that results from the official narrative which only talks of the increasing number of recoveries and low death rate. The fact is that we are getting the largest daily numbers (of cases). We are now third in total infections and going to be on the third spot in total deaths as well,” he said.
What is the way forward?
As emphasized by the health community earlier as well, prevention is the key. The way forward for the people is to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour including wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette in a sustained manner. Dr KK Aggarwal, the president of the Confederation of Medical Association of Asia and Oceania (CMAAO) and former IMA chief said, “There is no way the number of cases can be checked by government efforts at this stage.”
“If this current trend continues, nobody can stop India from crossing Brazil and America (in the number of cases). That would happen in probably six weeks. There is no way we can check the number of cases by government efforts. Now, prevention will have to be an individual effort. Opening up (of the economy) will lead to a surge in cases. The locking period was to prepare and sensitise people about how to prevent themselves from getting infected. What is more important now is to put a check on mortality. So government efforts should focus on mortality reduction,” Aggarwal said.