India’s Covid-19 curve inches upwards amid fear of mutant strains
India’s new Covid-19 curve continued to gradually inch upwards, driven largely by a resurgence of daily infections in Maharashtra, which for the second day in a row reported most infections in the country ahead of even Kerala where the first wave continues unabated.
The seven-day average of new cases across the country has now gone up seven of the last eight days, highlighting the potential risk of a surge in cases amid fears of mutant strains gaining ground. HT reported on Friday that the Covid trajectory was rising again in four regions in the country – Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir – after the end of the first wave of the pandemic, an analysis by HT shows. Maharashtra and Kerala, meanwhile, were responsible for 75% of the 13,632 new cases recorded across the country on Friday.
The increase in cases is being reported even as restrictions on several economic and social activities have eased across the country, and people and governments appear to be getting complacent, with almost no mask discipline, experts warned.
This week, Maharashtra, India’s worst-hit state, has seen an increase of 73% in the number infections compared to the week before – the seven-day average of cases in the state currently stands at 4,437, against 2,564, last week. Kerala, meanwhile, continues to see an average of over 4,500 cases each day this week. It is the increase in the number of cases in Maharashtra has the experts worried.
“There is a need to study the new infections that are being reported from Maharashtra, where a high proportion of people are likely to have been exposed already. We need to see whether the infections are happening in people who haven’t had it earlier or are these re-infections,” said Dr T Jacob John, former head of the department of virology at Christian Medical College-Vellore.
He said there was a need for increased surveillance to see whether the new variants of the virus have taken root. “If the new variant of the virus is infecting the people but the antibodies from a previous infection still protects a significant number of people, then the increase would just be a blip... If not, then we are in for trouble,” he said.