India now has over 200,000 cases in the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). It can be the seventh most affected country worldwide. India’s fatality rate at less than 3% is among the lowest of the severely affected countries, which means that while the infection is spreading, it is not leading to as many deaths as elsewhere,. That is the only silver lining. While this is any adverse health advantage India must build and sustain on, the situation is worrying.
India crossed 100,000 cases on May 18 and also the doubling rates are about 15 days. If the persists, it indicates that by the midst of June, India might be in close proximity to 400,000 cases; from the first week of July, it may cross a million cases. This also means that if the current fatality rate stays static, India may witness close to 30,000 deaths from the disease by early July. While this may be low pertaining to other countries, still it represents a staggeringly high loss of precious Indian lives within a period of four months ever since the disease started spreading in India. Now, consider the simple fact that through May, the lockdown was still in force, albeit with greater relaxations during the last fortnight in the month. The continent has now substantially opened, which, all experts agree, could lead to a sharp surge in cases.
This implies that India is clearly in the stage of community transmission, notwithstanding the government’s inexplicable denial than it. The surge in the event will make the procedure of contact tracing – integral to the treatment protocol and also in ensuring that the rate of transmission is restricted – much more difficult. It will strain the medical infrastructure. There is not any easy solution. But both citizens and governments have to be better prepared. Authorities, both at the central and state levels, will have to ramp up testing, be rigorous with tracing, find more hospitals and beds, and then concentrate on keeping fatalities low. Citizens must exercise great care once they walk out, maintain social distancing norms, wear masks, and steer clear of all unnecessary activities. Keep in mind that Unlock 1. will not be freedom through the disease. Get prepared for a hard month ahead.