Insight Bureau: Rising COVID cases and the increasing risk of Omicron variant in the country is raising many questions. It was almost after a year that things were getting back on track, however, once again the increasing number of COVID patients have slowed things down. In such a situation, many are wondering if we’re moving towards the third wave of COVID.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres December 27, 2021 warned that infectious diseases pose “a clear and present danger to every country”.
The devastation caused by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic showed the world has failed to learn from health emergencies, he said on the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness.
The same has been affirmed by the 2021 Global Health Security (GHS) Index released December 8, which said countries across all income levels, including India, are unprepared to meet future epidemic and pandemic threats.
India’s performance has declined owing to a slow response to such situations. It performed poorly under “rapid response”, a key indicator under the GHS Index 2021.
The country’s score has slipped 11.8 points since 2019. Its current score is 30.3, much lower than the poor global average of 37.6.
The score has been arrived at based on data collected from August 2020-June 2021. Between April and June 2021, India experienced the devastating second wave that overwhelmed the healthcare system. While the hospitals struggled to cope, critical drugs and oxygen were in short supply. If we believe the reports, India may witness a Covid prak by February end.
India added 9,195 Covid cases Wednesday –the highest new daily cases in three weeks — pushing the total confirmed tally to 34.8 million infections. The total number of fatalities so far is 480,592 deaths. The country is already gearing up to prevent another massive outbreak even though only 781 cases of the highly-mutated omicron have been identified so far.
Delhi closed cinemas, schools and gyms and introduced restrictions on public gathering on Tuesday — a day after it reported the most new cases in more than four months. Night curfew kicks in from 10 PM to 5 AM and bars, restaurants as well as offices will have 50% occupancy. “People with no travel history found infected with Omicron, it means it’s gradually spreading in community,” Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain said. That’s not a good sign.
Mumbai, the country’s financial capital, Mumbai logged 2,510 cases of Covid today – an 82% jump over yesterday’s cases. 20 related deaths were recorded in Maharashtra in 24 hours. Section 144 has been imposed in Mumbai till January 7, 2022.
“It is likely that India will see a period of explosive growth in daily cases and that the intense growth phase will be relatively short,” Paul Kattuman, professor at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge which has developed a Covid-19 India tracker, wrote in an email. “New infections will begin to rise in a few days, possibly within this week,” he said, adding that it was hard to predict how high the daily cases could go.
The Cambridge India tracker had correctly called the peak of this devastating second wave in May and also forecast in August that India would see a slow burn in its Covid infections curve until the vaccination coverage was sufficiently high. India crossed 1 billion administered vaccine doses in October and new cases plunged in tandem with that milestone