INDIA: Through the weekend, India saw a huge spike in the number of Covid deaths, in fact, a higher than ever record.
The only ray of hope in the ongoing second wave – that it was causing fewer deaths compared to last year, which now is diminished with the rapidly rising figures of more and more deaths. Although the daily death count is at record highs, the death rate is much lower than last year, but that is hardly a relief for a population that is facing around 2,000 Covid-deaths a day in the last few days. India’s daily death count in the near future is predicted to rise as high as 3,000 a day, which the US used to record during its worst phase. The viral disease is spreading at a faster rate than at any previous time, the positivity rate is also at an all-time high, and rising.
India was reporting over 1,200 deaths during the previous peak in September when more than 90,000 cases were being detected every day. Until two days ago, despite the daily count of cases having crossed two lakh, the death numbers were lower than the September record.
Maharashtra has witnessed the same trend; the state has been reporting more than 60,000 cases a day, but the death count, over 400 now, is still less than what was recorded during the peak of last year with less than 25,000 cases on any day. The state’s fatality rate this past week is less than half the overall rate.
The initial weeks of the second wave saw a low daily death count with improvement in clinical care infrastructure in the last year, however, the last couple of weeks have seen this infrastructure topple down with several deaths due to lack of hospital beds or access to critical medical requirements.
In the current scenario, India has been detecting almost 2.5 times as many cases as it was during the September peak. Like last year, it is not because of any increase in testing. But because many more people are returning positive.
Maharashtra has seen a very high positivity rate for most of the epidemic, particularly because of increased contact between people and due to the circulation of a faster-transmitting variant.
The high rate could be because of increased contact between people or due to the circulation of a faster-transmitting variant. A new local variant, which was first noticed in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, has two crucial mutations that make it transmit faster and possibly also evade the immune response and possibly also spread to the other states.