New Delhi: India is in the grip of a second COVID-19 wave and the country may see 1,750 coronavirus-related deaths per day, rising to approximately 2,320 by the first week of June, the Lancet Covid-19 Commission reported.
The report titled “Managing India’s second Covid-19 wave: Urgent steps” was published by the Commission’s India Task Force members.
The report highlights the key points of the second wave of pandemic.
Surge Concentrated, Less Scattered
According to the preliminary analysis of the report, “while the pandemic has spread, the geographic contours of the second wave closely mirror those of the first wave, though with a deeper penetration into tier 2, tier 3 cities”.
The report points out that the second wave has been more geographically clustered so far. The number of districts comprising the top 50% has dropped from over 40 at the time of the first peak to less than 20 currently.
In fact, at the time of the first surge of Covid-19 cases during August-September 2020, the number of districts contributing to 75% of Covid-19 cases was 60-100, while it has been around 20-40 districts during the second wave.
From 10K To 80K in 40 Days
The second wave is different from the first in two important ways.
First, the rate of increase in new cases is significantly higher. The increase from 10,000 to 80,000 new cases per day from February to April has taken less than 40 days. In September, it was 83 days.
Second, more Covid-19 cases are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, resulting in relatively low rates of hospitalisation and mortality. It is not entirely clear if the higher proportions of asymptomatic cases are entirely due to better contact tracing (more family members, for example, being tested).
Case Fatality To Rise
The overall Case Fatality Ratio (CFR) since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 has been reported to be around 1.3%. The CFR among patients who have contracted the virus since the beginning of 2021 is far less at 0.87%. Provisionally, it appears that CFR is lower in the second wave.
Yet, India is reporting 664 deaths per day across the country (seven day moving average a/o April 10, 2021).
Additionally, disruptions to regular health services, such as routine immunisation and delivery care, could have devastating consequences for maternal and child survival.
Fiscally, India may need to spend more than $7.8 billion on testing and $1.7 billion on healthcare utilisation due to Covid-19 infections leading to death by September 2021, India Today reported.