oppn parties Coronavirus: How Is India Going To Handle The Expected Deluge of Cases?

News Snippets

  • India conducts a record 6.4 lakh coronavirus tests in a single day on Friday, 31st August
  • Fresh Covid cases top 57000 in India on Friday. More than 11 lakh cases reported in July
  • The US says that China's incursions in several countries were to see the world's reaction
  • The scheme calling for local manufacturing of mobile phones receives applications from Apple vendors like Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron, along with Samsung and some Indian players
  • The Enforcement Directorate has started an investigation into money laundering in the Sushant Singh Rajput case after reports of missing funds from his accounts and the FIR in Patna
  • 38 persons were killed after consuming spurious liquor in Punjab's Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur districts
  • Mehbooba Mufti to spend three more months in detention as the J&K administration extends its order under the Public Safety Act
  • The J&K administration has released Sajad Lone, the chairman of J&K People's Conference after about a year in detention
  • The defence ministry has written to the CBFC to say that web series on the army must seek approval without knowing that the CBFC has no mandate to regulate such content
  • Google and Facebook will now have to pay to carry news from mainstream media in Australia, the first country to enact such a legislation
  • Centre says herd immunity cannot be a strategic option for a country with a huge population density like India
  • Sushant Singh Rajput's father and the Bihar government move the SC in order to prevent his ex-girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty from getting the case transferred from Patna to Mumbai
  • ED seeks a copy of the FIR from Bihar police as rumours float about a Rs 15-crore illegal transaction in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case
  • Several Western Naval Command officers, including a captain, booked by the CBI in a Rs 7-crore fraud case
  • Hardik Shah, a 2010-batch IAS officer, is to be the next private secretary to the Prime Minister
Home Minister Amit Shah tests Covid+, admitted to hospital. He had attended a cabinet meeting on Wednesday
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Coronavirus: How Is India Going To Handle The Expected Deluge of Cases?

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-07-20 13:28:30

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

India reached the dubious milestone of one million coronavirus cases last week. The cases are increasing at an alarming rate every week since the country was unlocked. But there is nothing surprising about it as, given the size and density of population, experts had predicted such a surge. In fact, there are indications that the cases would peak in September when India is likely to have more than 3 million cases at a conservative estimate. Last week (July 13 to 19) saw 21 percent of all cases added to the tally. Though a part of this is due to increased testing, it goes on to prove that since testing is still being done on very low numbers, India does not know the exact magnitude of the problem it is facing. 

If this is the case when the government says that community transmission (barring certain pockets) has not set in, it raises the important question of whether the health infrastructure in India is capable of handling the deluge when community transmission begins, as it is certain to. For, a nationwide lockdown is now out of question and localized lockdowns are not having the desired result largely due to leakage, indiscipline and lax policing.

In any case, a lockdown can be used as a tool to pin the population to a certain area for a certain time period and shore up medical infrastructure to take care of future exigencies. While some states used the nationwide lockdown during March-May to set up quarantine centres and increase hospital beds, others, like Bihar for instance, continued to lag behind. If India will have 3 million cases by end of September, how will the medical infrastructure cope up?

The government will have to further raise the level of testing. Nationwide community transmission and the load on the medical infrastructure can still be prevented if more and more people are tested and if found positive, isolated and treated. A carrier who is not tested and keeps moving about will infect numerous others and the chain created will be a sure recipe for community transmission. Catching a carrier and isolating him or her is the best way to break the chain. This can be done only through aggressive testing. At below 10000 tests per one million people, testing now is abysmally low.

The people also have a huge responsibility to help the government in controlling the spread of the virus. It is true that everyone is becoming cranky by staying at home despite the new normal of work from home and entertainment options on OTT channels. But staying at home and venturing out only when it is absolutely necessary is more important now than ever before. It is equally important that people wear masks at all times when they are out and wash their hands regularly. Sanitizing doors knobs, elevator buttons and work stations, including laptops and keyboards is also very important. Maintaining physical distance is more important now since evidence is emerging that the virus remains in the air for 8 hours for up to 2 to 3 metres if an infected person coughs or sneezes in the vicinity. Hence, citizens will have to support the efforts of the government by being disciplined and following all protocols and making others do so too.