An update on India

India experienced (and still is experiencing) a devastating second wave. COVID-19 cases particularly spiked between February and early May. There was plenty of news coverage around that time, with a lot less recently. Let’s circle back. 

Remind me, what was the situation briefly? 

During the worst of the second wave, hospitals were left with a lack of overall hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and drugs to assist with the surging cases. The situation got so desperate that people took to Twitter to get help for their family and friends, posting their phone numbers and desperate calls for help.  

So what has happened since? 

India has seen a decline in COVID-19 cases since the peak of the second wave. The number of average daily cases in India has fallen to just over 50,000 in recent days, down from the peaks of 400,000 in May. The drop in numbers can be attributed to strict lockdowns that were imposed. 

Third wave? 

The decline in numbers has prompted parts of the country to reopen, loosening of restrictions, and schools are planning to reopen. However, experts are warning that just because the second wave is experiencing less cases now, it does not mean that there is not a possibility of a third wave. 

With the easing of restrictions, All India Institute Of Medical Science Director Dr Randeep Guleria warned, “but given the way people are crowding in the markets and malls without following any Covid-appropriate behaviour, I feel a third wave may hit earlier, possibly in 12 to 16 weeks”. Public policy and health systems expert Dr Chandrakant Lahariya has also warned of the potential of a third wave, citing that India is in a delicate phase and how people behave will largely determine the fate of the next wave.

This week in numbers

This week, India reached over 30 million COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Government data showed there were 50,848 infections recorded over a 24-hour period on Wednesday, bringing the total reported cases to 30.02 million. The reported daily death toll on Wednesday was 1,358.  

Less than 5 percent of India’s total population has received two vaccine doses, which is partially as a result of the vaccine supply issues it faced earlier this year. 16 percent of the population has received at least one vaccine dose. Despite this, the Indian Government recently commenced a new vaccine strategy that will see state governments receive their vaccine doses for free from the Federal Government. With this new initiative, India averaged 3.25 million doses every day between 9 and 22 June, with a record of eight million doses administered on Monday. 

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