India on brink of 'full-blown' COVID-19 crisis, warns AIIMS chief

Siliguri, India: India is in direct alignment to another 'full-blown' COVID-19 crisis, the Chief of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Dr. Randeep Guleria warned as the nation records the highest number of daily cases in 24-hours, We The World Magazine earlier reported

Dr. Guleria, also a part of India's COVID-19 action task force said despite an evident nationwide rise in virus cases, people are indifferent to the following safe practices like avoiding crowds and maintaining distance in public places. 

Warning of the grim outcome of people's indifference to social distancing norms, the doctor said it took several months to reach the 70k daily cases during the first wave, but this time it is a very steep curve, as the same number of cases came much earlier, TOI reported

In just two or three last weeks, the case count has sharply increased in major Indian cities like Mumbai and Delhi. Just weeks ago Delhi was recording not more than 200 daily cases, which now is 10 times that number. On Thursday, the city recorded 2,790 new cases—the highest in over three months. 

Mumbai alone accounted for over 50 percent of the national total Thursday. 

The AIIMS chief earlier wanted in a conversation with NDTV that the mutant strains of the novel coronavirus like the ones circulating in the UK, that have high transmissibility is a strong reason behind the sudden surge.

He added that people have developed situational fatigue and now they want to go out to party, travel even when there's an evidently worse situation. 

"One of the reasons behind this (fatigue) is that this time around the young are more affected and the severity of symptoms among them is lesser. However, we must realize that eventually the young may spread the infection to the elderly people and those with comorbidities and we might witness overwhelming healthcare infrastructure once again,” Dr. Guleria said.

Reiterating the World Health Organization's 'test, treat, isolate' mantra, Dr. Guleria stressed the importance of more aggressive testing and treating strategy while pushing the vaccination drive further, as soon as possible. 

He said a full lockdown may not be feasible, but if necessary, travel restrictions must be ensured.

“If we don’t control the situation now, it may get difficult to deal with its effects at a later stage. Hospitals may get flooded with requests for admissions. Already, we are seeing a 200% rise in requests for Covid-19 beds in Delhi,” Dr. Guleria said.

Non-COVID patients will be the worst sufferers if the healthcare sector remains pre-occupied by the pandemic, the doctor warned. 

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