COVID crisis: The situation worsens

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waving colorful national flag of india on a gray background with text coronavirus covid-19 . concept.. COVID-19 cases in India illustration. Indian COVID-19 cases concept. Cases of COVID-19 crisis in India concept. Image credit: luzitanija / 123rf
Image credit: luzitanija / 123rf

Ever since India passed the grim milestone of surpassing one million COVID-19 cases, the country’s COVID crisis shows no sign of abating. 

Sunday saw yet another record breached. The number of new reported cases of COVID-19 – the disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), or simply the coronavirus – numbered at 50,362. Prior to this, the largest single-day increase in the number of COVID-19 cases was 49,055 on the preceding Friday. 

Between July 20th and July 26th, the number of new cases reported increased by 34 percent compared to the previous week. SARS-CoV-2 infections jumped by 317,892 – compared to the previous week’s increase of 237,999. In the same time period, deaths due to COVID-19 increased by 24 percent. India recorded 5,315 fatalities between July 20th and July 26th compared to 4,285 fatalities the week before.

India is the third worst-affected country by the COVID crisis, trailing only Brazil and the United States in the number of confirmed coronavirus infections to date. India is also the third worst-affected country in terms of active infections, again behind only Brazil and the United States. The three countries additionally share the grim distinction of being the only nations to have recorded over a million COVID-19 cases thus far. 

At the time of publishing, India has confirmed 1,440,371 COVID-19 cases, of which 486,202 are active. The country has witnessed 32,866 deaths due to COVID-19 whilst, fortunately, 921,303 have recovered. Although the number of deaths due to COVID-19 is sizeable, and the sixth highest in the world, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare reports that India’s fatality rate is 2.35 percent which it says is among the world’s lowest.

As the COVID crisis continues, with Indian National Congress leader Rahul Gandhi predicting the country will confirm two million infections by the second week of August,  the Government is working to fortify testing. On Monday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that more than 5.15 lakh tests had been conducted in the previous 24 hours. 

An official in the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare quoted by ANI said that “the Central Government has advised all State and UT [union territory] governments to keep up the strategy of ‘Test, Track and Treat’ with aggressive testing which may lead to a higher number of daily positive cases initially but would eventually achieve a decline as has been demonstrated after Union Government’s targeted efforts in the national capital.

“Recently, the WHO [World Health Organization] has issued a guidance note on public health criteria to adjust public health and social measures in the context of COVID-19. In this document, WHO underlines the need for comprehensive surveillance and testing of suspect cases and they further elaborated the meaning of ‘comprehensive surveillance’ stating that if a country is testing 140 people per day per ten lakh population. So, we are taking that indication from the WHO document. In the Indian context, there are over 22 states which are conducting over 140 tests per day per million population.” 

At the time of publishing, the global case count stands at 16,456,038 infections, of which 5,725,923 are active. Of the currently-infected individuals, 5,659,535 are in mild condition, translating to 99 percent of patients. The remaining 66,388 patients are in serious or critical condition. 10,077,068 people have recovered from COVID-19; sadly, 653,047 have lost their lives.