India’s COVID-19 figures have been falling steadily for almost a month. However, we are not safe to celebrate.
While the news of a steady decline in new cases may come as a welcome relief, it cannot be denied that the second wave has hit India significantly. Deaths in the second wave have reached world record-breaking highs, as have the number of daily new cases. While the worst of the second wave has passed through India at present, it does not mean that we are out of the danger zone.
As shown in many other countries, figures falling to all-time lows did nothing to prevent the emergence of second, and even third, waves. India’s second wave, according to many, is the result of complacency after an initial surge in cases last year.
“While the exact reasons for the surge are not known – since the laxity in COVID-19 behavior is not specific to the state – the likely factors are COVID-inappropriate behavior caused by a lack of fear of the disease, pandemic fatigue; miss out and superspreaders; And increased crowds due to recent gram panchayat elections, wedding season and opening of schools, congested public transport etc.
The term “epidemic fatigue” was coined at the time, referring to the concept that many people in India as well as around the world were getting tired of the constant lockdown measures and restrictions. This has prompted many people around the world to simply ignore the lockdown measures, leading to an increase in the rates of transmission. However, the role of decency and early celebration on the part of the government cannot be ignored.
Recently in early March, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan claimed that India was in the “final game” of the pandemic. Given the perception that the issue was largely overblown, a number of large-scale events, including cricket matches and religious ceremonies, took place. These were often attended by thousands of individuals, many masked, and have since been speculated as the superspreader events that prompted a second wave.
Efforts to return to normalcy followed by speculation that the pandemic was largely over gave rise to a second wave that, at its peak, saw four times as many cases as the first wave. It was the focus of media around the world for weeks that followed, reports of international aid needed to help provide oxygen to India’s overburdened health system and round-the-clock cremations. However, when news from cities was prevalent on social media, India’s rural population was largely ignored on social media, despite their dire condition due to lack of healthcare infrastructure.
times of India (You) Recently told about the dire situation in Bassi, where “about three-quarters of the 5,400 people in the village are ill and over thirty have died in the last three weeks. It has no health facilities, no doctors and no oxygen canisters. And unlike India’s social-media literate urban population, residents can’t appeal on Twitter to an army of strangers ready to help. ”
Some states, such as Maharashtra – which saw the brunt of a surge in COVID-19 cases at the start of the second wave – have since reported a decrease in cases. Others, such as Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand, have announced plans to expand their lockdown protocols. It is likely that cities and regions that are more well-served by the health system are likely to recover from a second wave of COVID-19 due to greater access to hospitals and a faster rollout of vaccines. However, heavy burden may remain for some time in rural areas.
The vaccine rollout presents a hope that India, like other countries now enjoying very low figures, may avert a possible third wave. However, it must be remembered that just a few months back, it was announced by the Center that India has completely overcome COVID-19. It is imperative to proceed with caution and caution and it cannot be understated that, while cases are indeed decreasing, new daily cases are still higher than the peak of the first wave. The crisis is not over yet.
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