New Delhi: Just like the past big announcements made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi since the coronavirus outbreak in India, his seventh address to the nation should be taken equally seriously in view of the upcoming festive season. Also Read - Give Concrete Solutions, Not Plain Speeches: Congress Slams PM Modi Over His Address to Nation

In his 12-minute-long address to the nation on Tuesday, the prime minister stressed that this is not the time to take the Covid-19 pandemic lightly and not follow guidelines, as all citizens may have to pay the price of recklessness. Also Read - Government Working to Ensure Every Citizen Gets COVID-19 Vaccine: PM Modi in Address to Nation

At one point in his speech, PM Modi folded his hands to impress upon people to take precautions like wearing masks, sanitising their hands and maintaining social distance and said he wants to see them safe and their families happy. Also Read - PM Modi Warns Nation Ahead of Festivals, Says Not The Time To Let Our Guard Down | 5 Big Takeaways

-We are tired of the pandemic but the virus is still very much active-

PM Modi said, “We must keep in mind that lockdown may have ended, but the virus is still there. This is not the time to be negligent, this is not the time to believe that corona is gone or there is no danger from it. India is in a stable situation today due to efforts of every Indian in the last seven-eight months, and we have to ensure that the situation does not deteriorate.”

Here are some reasons why people should take PM Modi’s warning seriously in the upcoming festivals:

1. Lessons to learn from Kerala’s Onam spike

Kerala, which was initially praised for effectively containing the spread of Covid-19, witnessed a spike in Covid-19 cases after Onam celebrations in August. The infections jumped by five times since Kerala celebrated the ten-day harvest festival.

However, states are still reluctant to announce strict restrictions and stop people from venturing out during the peak holiday season which includes the ongoing Navratri festival, upcoming Durga Puja and Diwali in mid-November.

2. Half the Indian population may be infected by Feb 2021, experts warn

Experts have warned that India could see as high as 50 per cent of its citizens who would have already been infected with Covid-19 by February 2021.

“Our mathematical model estimates that around 30 per cent of the population is currently infected and it could go up to 50 per cent by February,” a government panel official had said.

3. India is still reporting second highest daily cases

With the economy freed of virus restrictions, India is already on track to overtake the United States in terms of the world’s highest Covid-19 infections. And now the nation is bracing for a surge in Covid cases in the coming weeks as it heads into the festive season. India recorded the highest number of daily cases in the world for more than two months after recently the US claimed the first spot again.

For the first time since July end, India reported less than 50,000 fresh cases in a day even as the country’s tally neared the 76-lakh mark on Tuesday. A total of 46,790 new Covid infections were reported in the last 24 hours, while the death toll climbed to 1,15,197 with 587 new fatalities.

4. Things can get worse faster than they are getting better

India recorded the highest number of daily cases in the world for more than two months after recently the US claimed the first spot again.

PM Modi in his speech cited examples of the US and several European countries to note that the coronavirus cases there have seen a sudden and worrisome rise after witnessing a fall.

“We must remember, whether it is America or Europe, cases declined and then there was sudden spike,” he said.

However, PM Modi also highlighted India’s “success” in saving lives in the fight against the disease compared to resourceful countries like the US, Spain, Brazil and Britain.

5. Covid-19 vaccine is not here yet

The prime minister said people should continue to be careful and not be callous until a vaccine is found.

Countries across the world are working at a war-footing to develop a vaccine, and scientists in India have also been working hard in this regard. He said the government is making all efforts to ensure that a vaccine, whenever it is launched, reaches every Indian.

“We all must remember, there can be no laxity till a cure is found (Jab tak dawai nahin, tab tak dhilai nahin),” PM Modi said.

6. India has not reached herd immunity yet

With a population so large, India has not yet achieved herd immunity – a situation where the fraction of infected persons is so high that the outbreak begins to die out on its own. As a result, the immunity is not strong enough to safely flout Covid protocols.

Meanwhile, a group of scientists have also said that allowing to build a herd immunity is “a dangerous fallacy” that should not be promoted.

7. Winter can make things worse

Doctors fear fatalities could spike as bad winter air pollution may worsen the breathing difficulties that many Covid-19 patients suffer.