More news is more bad news. Ever since the first Indian COVID-19 case was reported in Thrissur, Kerala, on January 30 this year, the country has mutated into a global hotspot of the pandemic.
India recorded as many as 96.551 new cases and 1209 deaths today, the highest ever one-day toll until now.
Do these numbers indicate the beginning of the pandemic’s second wave? Regardless of what the diffident answer might be, we have reconciled to the fact that the nation is struggling to combat a grave medical emergency along with most parts of the world. That is the only truth that matters.
Medical professionals, well-equipped and not well-equipped, urban and rural, are leading stressful lives as they attend to patients worldwide. That includes India.
Several vaccines are being tested at the critical phase 3 of clinical trials although India must have a lot more research-oriented activity than it now does.
Studies suggest that Remdesivir can be useful for patients in their early stages. That might be a significant breakthrough.
Meanwhile, healthcare setups globally are better equipped to support patients compared to the early days when the virus had started spreading its tentacles.
Recovery rate in India has experienced a 100 per cent surge in the last 29 days according to the health ministry, implying the healthcare system is tackling the gargantuan challenge with growing confidence and efficiency.
The major concern, however, is that the number of new cases in the country is increasing exponentially. At the time of writing this article, it has recorded 4.56 million cases out of which 3.54 million have recovered. It has also recorded 76,271 deaths, a serious number. Maharashtra with 990,795 cases is the worst-hit state by some distance, followed by Andhra Pradesh with 537,687 cases and Tamil Nadu (486,052).
In the Northeast, Assam has recorded as many as 135,805 cases, a large number considering it is a relatively small state. Manipur (7470), Tripura (17, 811), Arunachal Pradesh (5672), Meghalaya (3296), Mizoram (1333), Nagaland (4636) and Sikkim (2009) haven’t escaped the wrath of the virus either, a reminder that their respective administrative setups and citizens must be on high alert.
The nation’s economy has taken a hit, and no amount of repair work with appropriate governmental participation can nullify the damage already caused. Online learning has proved to be an inadequate alternative for students in a country where most can’t access computers and cell phones at home.
Lakhs have been rendered jobless. The voice of the suffering daily wage worker has disappeared into silence. Nobody is talking about the middle class, which has a mountain of bills to pay every month. This class, which has a high percentage of jobless individuals, is dealing with its share of sufferings as well.
The CFR (Case Fatality Rate) shows that the novel coronavirus is far less lethal than many of its counterparts from the past.
What is unclear is its R0 or the average number of persons who get infected from one patient. Equally unclear is how exactly it affects a human being, although it is now known that it does a lot more than damaging the lungs.
Medical science has taken giant steps forward since the days of the Spanish Flu, the deadly influenza pandemic, that had infected more than 500 million people worldwide between February 1918 and April 1920 and killed anywhere between 17 and 50 million. Reliable solutions for tackling the novel coronavirus, in other words, might be found soon.
However, let us not expect a vaccine for ending our woes with the speed at which it was discovered in Steven Soderbergh’s otherwise prescient disaster drama ‘Contagion.’
Such miracles take place in the movies.