With two big festivals -- Holi and the Kumbh Mela pilgrimage -- around the corner and many people flouting basic protocols, north India, especially Delhi-National Capital Region, is likely to face a super surge in Covid-19 caseloads, health experts have warned
With two big festivals -- Holi and the Kumbh Mela pilgrimage -- around the corner and many people flouting basic protocols, north India, especially Delhi-National Capital Region, is likely to face a super surge in Covid-19 caseloads, health experts have warned.
India began witnessing massive coronavirus caseloads in March last year which reached its peak across the country in the next 6-8 months. But this time, people have become more complacent amid the vaccination drive even as the "second peak" threat gets bigger.
While India on Thursday recorded the highest single-day rise in Covid cases since December, the cases in Maharashtra accounted for 63.21 per cent of the tally, followed by Kerala and Punjab.
The country recorded 35,871 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours. A single-day spike of 36,011 new infections was recorded on December 6.
According to the Health Ministry, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu continue to report a surge in daily new cases. As many as 79.54 per cent of the new cases are reported from these five states.
Manoj Sharma, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, at the Fortis Hospital in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, said that as soon as vaccination was introduced, there was a rapid surge in cases.
"However, even post-vaccination, it takes approximately six weeks for someone to get immunised and for the desired antibodies to be developed. But when people get vaccinated, they become a little relaxed and start to intermingle more, and this has led to an increase in the number of cases," Sharma told IANS.
As the number of Covid-19 cases is rising across the country, the government has sounded a word of caution for the states. The central government said that the pandemic seems to be shifting to Tier II and Tier III cities, and closer to the rural areas.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged the chief ministers to act fast against the emerging "second peak" of the pandemic, warning "if we do not stop this now, a country-wide outbreak can occur".
According to Sharma, there is a chance that the current situation may lead to a lockdown.
"Although the government is making extraordinary efforts, the population is so large that getting everyone vaccinated is an enormous task, and may take years. Now that it takes six weeks to get immunised, there is a chance of a lockdown like last year," he noted.
Navneet Sood, Pulmonary Consultant, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, New Delhi, said that non-compliance by several people has partially led us to this situation.
"We witness several people in public places not wearing masks properly. The precautionary measure of social distancing is also compromised at many levels. As a result, several hotspots have been marked in the past few days," Sood told IANS.
According to experts, there may be a connection with the rising levels of pollution as the pollutants may act as a carrier of the virus. Therefore, when the pollution level is higher, there is a greater chance of the virus being transferred.
"We have already suffered a big loss, hence we need to be more aware and cautious about the situation now. Apart from wearing masks and following social distancing protocols, we need to restrict outside visits unless they are necessary; get your family members vaccinated as per the government's guidelines within time, use sanitisers repeatedly on hands as per need and maintain basic hygiene as much as possible," the experts advised.