India’s Coronavirus cases numbers: Last time, it had taken 23 days for India to move from 30,000 cases a day to 60,000. And, at that time, in July and August last year, there were far greater number of susceptible people who could have been infected.
The most striking feature of India’s second wave of infections has been the speed at which the numbers have been growing. On Friday, more than 62,000 positive cases were detected in the country. Just ten days ago, this daily count of cases was less than 30,000.
Last time, it had taken 23 days for India to move from 30,000 cases a day to 60,000. And, at that time, in July and August last year, there were far greater number of susceptible people who could have been infected. After infecting a critical proportion of the population, the spread of the epidemic is expected to slow down. This critical proportion is not necessarily 50 per cent. The slowdown can occur even after 30 or 40 per cent of the population has been infected. This is because of the corresponding reduction in the number of uninfected people who can potentially get infected.
Five months of continuous decline in coronavirus numbers, after the peak achieved in middle of September, had given rise to hopes that the critical infection level in the community had already been reached. And, though the possibility of a fresh waves was never ruled out, it was expected that these would only be short-lived with lower and lower peaks compared to that achieved in September.
However, at the rate at which new infections are getting detected, there seems to be a real threat of the September peak getting surpassed. Till now, the second wave has been powered primarily by Maharashtra. On Friday, Gujarat and Punjab also notched up their highest single-day numbers ever, but their previous peaks were one-tenth that of Maharashtra.
States like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have just begun to show the surge. Apart from Maharashtra and Kerala, the two states that have reported more than 10,000 cases in a day, are Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Tamil Nadu’s peak is at 7,000. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have started reporting about 2,000 cases a day now, after seeing their daily counts drop to less than 500 in February. Andhra Pradesh, whose daily count had dropped to double digits in the first week of February, is now approaching 1,000 cases a day. If they go the Maharashtra way, and surpass their previous peaks, India’s second wave could be much worse than the first.
This is also because Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, three of the top five populous states in the country, have still been largely unaffected by the second wave, and there is no reason to believe that they have any special immunity against the epidemic. While Bihar and West Bengal had peaked around 4,000 last time, Uttar Pradesh had reported more than 7,000 cases in a day in September. West Bengal and Assam are going through election season, with large crowds participating in political rallies. Punjab’s experience shows that a delayed surge is very possible. States like Odisha and Telangana also fall in the same bracket as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal right now.
News Source: The Indian Express