India, the home to 1.3 billion human beings is now making the current headlines as COVID-19 cases seem to increase at a rapid rate with back to back peaks coming these past days. India has crossed the mark of 1 million and continues to grow each day as there is no sign of it stopping now. The increase in the recovery rate and the low fatality rate is showing optimistic signs, but these constant increases in new cases and brought concern and raised questions on government action to contain COVID-19 spread.
In just the last 24 hours we’ve seen 36,247 new cases and the number of deaths at 25,594. There are now a million cases across the country. We are now the third-worst impacted country and to get to these million cases it took 137 days. Now the doubling rate in the country of many infections (i.e) the number of times it takes for a case to double is over just 20.6 days. Hence the next million numbers of cases could come in less than a month. This means that India may surpass tuberculosis infection. Coronavirus might quite pass tuberculosis as the worst and deadliest infection to impact the country. The last year’s tuberculosis counts to 2.4 million people in India. The focus is on the rural areas are where medical facilities aren’t good and that’s where the disease is spreading now. A road to a million cases means there are 6 hundred and 35 thousand recovered which is the good news. At the moment the number of active cases or the people who are suffering from corona infection at the moment is 3 hundred and 43 thousand cases. The other good news which has been raising our hope is the recovery rate increase and the decrease in the fatality rate. Globally 4.3 % of the people who contracted the disease will die but in India, that number is only 2.5%. Testing is the area that needs to be improved significantly as that’s what the experts are saying is the key to stopping the spread of the virus. The testing is 9558 per million of the population, which is much more than 30,000 in other countries who have managed the disease better than us.
The hot stops are constantly changing and the question of where are these cases coming from are also different each time. But half of the active cases is limited to just 10 cities. Hyderabad has the second highest of active cases and Delhi has the lowest proportion of active cases among these 10 cities that are there with 15% of the cases.
Apart from pockets of containment centers, the day to day life of people in India seems to be returning to normal as lockdown restrictions are eased. But these sites hardly reflect the real situation. India is fighting a tough battle with coronavirus and for the capital city, Delhi which has somehow gotten into control with only 1000 cases reported from Delhi out of 36,000 cases within the last 24 hours. This has come after the national capital saw a rapid spike in cases of the course of the last two months. Chief Minister Kejriwal in his press said,
“We think this has happened due to our government’s policy of home isolation and the decision to work in tandem with the center like NGOs and spiritual organizations”
With the number of infection spiraling there’s a great concern about the healthcare systems’ capacity to cope. In recent weeks numerous reports have surfaced about people with coronavirus symptoms struggling to get access to proper medical care. Many are having difficulties even to get tested for the virus. Over the past few days, multiple incidents have to light especially in hotspot places where patients have been turned away from different hospitals citing a shortage of beds. Some of the patients did end up losing their life. People have even taken to Twitter to report their ordeal but still haven’t received the immediate action which made them lose their loved one and the government is in big scrutiny now especially since its record indicates that there are enough hospital beds available to treat coronavirus patients.
Some experts say that the problem is not entirely due to the infrastructure. One reason is that we have multiple agencies with private as well as the government. In the time of the pandemic, these two sectors should be working under one umbrella which is very much lacking. And then there are the issues of human resources where HR is quite scared, there is a lot of panic in the doctors that is why they are not coming forward. With access to government hospitals becoming increasingly different, many private hospitals are charging exorbitant amounts of money which makes the treatment unaffordable for most. The government of India has said that it is compiling new strategies to deal with the rising number of cases. But the steps taken so far seem to be falling short and for many, it will be too late.
A global health researcher, Dr. Anant Bhan, said that India is likely to see “a series of peaks” as the infection has started to spread to small cities and rural areas. He also pointed out that the infection has shifted to smaller cities after attacking the major places of India’s economy. Rajesh Bhushan, India’s federal health minister said “India’s strategy going forward will revolve around containment zones” while also explaining that once the hotspot zones are mapped out, the health care workers are to be spent for the house to house testing. Many have claimed that India’s way of testing is sluggish and that’s what has caused this turnover. From testing rate being only 1,200 to now, where 300,000 samples are being tested every day is an increment but still not enough. As suffering and fear continue, the new hopes are coming from the vaccine candidate as that is showing promising results and aids in helping people recover fast. The silver lining emergence due to a rise in recovery rate, low mortality rate, testing being increased and an investment in health infrastructure being boosted have added a new optimistic option that this virus could ever be gone. The government of India is trying to cope up with coronavirus surge as cases seem to come day by day. New strategies are being implemented; many cities have gone into lockdown while many have perished. If the government and private sector work hand in hand providing the best aid possible then India can stop a major loss and might bring it under control soon.