By Sumit Saxena
Currently, India is experiencing the worst phase in its fight against Covid-19 with a total of 61,537 new coronavirus cases getting reported in the last 24 hours, taking the overall caseload to 20,88,611, while the death toll mounting to 42,518 with 933 fresh fatalities.
But there may be a silver lining, as V.K. Paul, Member of Niti Aayog, said that the last five-day daily cases data indicate that India may be moving away from exponential rise.
Speaking at a webinar organised by the India International Centre on the topic towards a holistic long term medi-care system — the casede of Covid-19 — Paul, citing the day wise daily new cases data, said, “If we look at the five-day moving average, we could see some kind of stabilization; I do not know whether it is true or random, that only time will tell. May be, there is something out there, which is indicating that we may have moved away from exponential rise and we may be stabilising. But that only time will tell.”
Paul said that the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic was in the most populous cities, in the western half of the nation, where the pandemic originated.
It seems now that the pandemic in this part of the country is now reaching some king of peak. “As we have seen in the context of Delhi,” he added
Paul said, “We still have large swathes of our geography and large swathes of our population, which are naive to this virus….the virus loves people, the virus loves dense places, the virus loves irresponsible citizens who do not look after their respiratory secretions and do not maintain physical distance.”
Citing the data on cases per million, he added that India has 1466 cases per million, and the world average, into the 7th month of the pandemic, is around 2500 per million. Paul said the disease load is modest and warned people not to be complacent, if cases begin to decline. “The trailer is over I think, but we are still before interval,” he added.
He insisted that mortality rates in India continue to be low and in terms of response, home based isolation protocols have succeeded. “Deaths will be imprinted in pages of history, how many deaths happened in this pandemic in a given nation…. Need to keep a sharp eye number of deaths… In case fatality rate, India is currently at 2.06….some of states have below 1 per cent case fatality rate. The highest we have seen for a state is 6 per cent or little above 6 per cent…” said Paul.
He insisted that in India the mortality burden so far has been on the lower side. “We like to keep our case fatality rate below 1 per cent….and it is possible,” he added.
(Sumit Saxena can be contacted at [email protected])