A massive surge of 34,995 cases on Friday alone screeched India’s coronavirus-count to cross 1 million marks, taking the national total to 1,003,832 cases, according to data from the federal health ministry.
India is currently the third worst-hit nation in the world, after Brazil (2 million) and the United States (3.6 million). While the number of COVID-19 cases continues to surge at an alarming rate, India’s federal Health Ministry has conveyed the nation’s recovery rate has improved. It is currently 63%.
So far 635,757 people have recovered from the novel coronavirus. In the last 24-hours, the Health Ministry also reported 687 deaths, a total of 25,609 cases in the country.
Still ain’t enough
Ever since the pandemic began and India started testing for the virus, the count has been abysmally lower, compared to other regions of a similar population; a fact which experts have doubted, given India is home to 1.3 billion people. In comparison, Brazil and the US both have a population below 400 million.
News agency Reuters noted, for India, surpassing the grim milestone of 1 million is still low for the country, given its massive population and experts have predicted the cases will rise with the rising number of testing.
Epidemiologists have predicted India is yet to encounter the peak number of coronavirus cases, which they believe is due in months ahead.
An epidemiologist at the nonprofit Public Health Foundation of India, Giridhar Babu told Reuters: “In the coming months, we are bound to see more and more cases, and that is the natural progression of any pandemic.”
“The acceleration in cases remains the main challenge for India in the coming days,” director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, Dr. Ashish Jha, told TIME.
The pandemic has put India’s healthcare system under the test, and the health care system has already shown signs of struggling to keep up with the unprecedented situation.
Despite the governments across Indian states are on the tip-toe ensuring there is enough facility to treat, isolate, the growing number of cases, nonetheless, it has failed to meet the demand.
Experts fear further strain on hospitals and doctors across the nation as the pandemic makes its way ahead. To curb the spread, a number of state authorities have re-imposed lockdown in the nation. Bangalore, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, have reinstated lockdown to keep a check on the spread in the recent week.
Public health experts also opine that the nation’s sweeping lockdown imposed in March was not effective enough and that it has just delayed the virus. “Slowdown isn’t eradication,” said Jayaprakash Muliyil, an epidemiologist at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, acknowledging that India had to ‘slow down’ the virus since it did not have enough facility to treat, TIME reports.
Media reports point out India’s public healthcare system is one of the least funded in the world, with millions in the nation’s rural area having no access to proper facilities. In recent times, the virus has spread significantly in the nation’s rural areas, point a threat of increased mortality given the less access and capacity of the hospitals.
India’s federal Health Ministry, Rajesh Bhushan was quoted as saying: “India’s strategy going forward will revolve around containment zones,” he said adding that health care workers will go from door-to-door once more containment zones are mapped out.
(Cover image courtesy of health.mil via Commons)