New variants, negligence among reasons for fresh Covid-19 spread, say experts
India has seen a resurgence in the number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases. In the last two days, the country has recorded more than 16,000 new cases and over 100 fatalities.
The worst affected states are Maharashtra and Kerala, which account for a bulk of these new cases. But apart from their contribution, there are a number of other factors which are being blamed for the spike in Covid-19 caseload in the country.
Here are the big reasons for the spike:
Dip in the number of people being tested for Covid-19: According to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) cited by Hindustan Times' sister publication Livehindustan, 10 lakh samples were being tested everyday in September last year. By February this year, the number was reduced to 7-8 lakh per day, according to Livehindustan. In a 24-hour period (till Friday morning), 8,31,807 samples were tested for Covid-19. Overall, 21,46,61,465 samples have been tested for the infection in the country.
Uptick in the rate of positivity: Though the number of samples being tested for Covid-19 has come down, the positivity rate has constantly remained over five per cent, said Livehindustan. Last month, the positivity rate was above six per cent, and has decreased marginally, but is still over 5 per cent. According to World Health Organization (WHO), the positivity rate has to stay below 5 per cent for two weeks to effectively control the pandemic.
The effect of new variants of the coronavirus: The health ministry said recently that at least 180 cases of the new variant of Covid-19 found in the United Kingdom have been recorded in India. Apart from that, there are a few suspected cases of Brazil and South African variants too. And, some new variants have also been discovered in the country. According to epidemiologist Shahid Jameel, India has been able to cross the peak of the disease without much damage, but that doesn't mean it is safe from a second wave.
Negligence: Experts say that a major reason for the decrease in the spread of the infection is because a big chunk of the population developed anti-bodies against the infection. They point to the results of the sero surveys carried out in the past few months. These fall in numbers led to negligence on part of the general public, which resulted in the spike in Covid-19 case, said experts, like the one witnessed in Maharashtra. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and health authorities in India's worst-affected state have warned people to not take Covid-19 lightly and keep following government guidelines, including wearing of face masks. Thousands of people have been penalised in the state for not wearing masks.