India’s COVID-19 situation continues to escalate, as the country now has the third highest number of cases globally.
Figures now exceed 700,000, with numbers near or exceeding 20,000 new cases per day now being the new norm. Weeks of ever-increasing daily figures have seen India climb the ranks of most affected nations in just a short period of time.
India reported 24,422 new cases and 421 new deaths on Sunday alone. This marked four consecutive days of record high daily case increases. The upward trajectory of India’s current COVID-19 figures underline the fact that the worst may very well be yet to come.
As community transmission and permeation of the disease into India’s rural communities occur, the disease will be all but impossible to contain. This has led to some speculating that COVID-19 is likely to become a yearly occurrence, recurring during the winter seasons in a manner similar to the flu.
The Indian government has gradually lifted restrictions and quarantine measures imposed to curb spread of the disease, in order to help the ailing economy. However, while many European nations have shown successful quarantine removal — with many countries now opening up businesses and tourist attractions — India differs in the timing.
India delayed the onset of the virus considerably with its thorough lockdown measures. While cases were surging in Europe, India had only a few hundred cases. However, European countries began to remove lockdown measures once they were very clearly within the declining stages of the curve. India, on the other hand, has begun to remove lockdown measures while daily cases were continuing to increase. Since this point, the figures for the daily increase in cases have skyrocketed.
According to The Guardian, medical staff in New Delhi have begun treating patients at a spiritual centre converted into an isolation facility and hospital with 10,000 beds, many made of cardboard and chemically coated to make them waterproof. They claim that officials fear that the Indian capital, home to 25 million people, could record more than half-a-million cases by the end of the month.
Given the upward trajectory of figures, combined with India’s vast population, it is highly likely that such figures could soon become a reality. At the time of writing global COVID-19 figures have risen to 11,764,568 total cases, with 541,248 associated deaths. In India, 721,310 cases have been recorded so far, with 20,184 associated deaths.