New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government’s official Covid-19 briefing has in the past one week claimed at least twice that India’s case figures are coming down, but top sources in the government say it may take another two to two-and-a-half months for the numbers to dip.
“If you look at the current surge, numbers really started rising from 1 March. It took us almost two and a half months to get here,” said a senior government official who is part of several task forces and empowered groups, and is also a key member of the strategy think-tank on the pandemic.
“In the second wave, everywhere we have seen that the numbers go up sharply but they come down faster than the curve when cases were going up. So maybe in another six weeks to two months there will be a significant fall. We are certainly hoping that by July the numbers will be down, hopefully to the February levels or even lower,” said the official.
However, the official refused to hazard a prediction about what the peak daily figure in the second wave would look like.
On 5 May, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), had claimed that India’s daily Covid numbers are showing a dipping trend. While he had cited the 3.92 lakh cases on 2 May that came down to 3.82 lakh cases on 5 May, the high of 4.14 lakh cases on 7 May destroyed that claim.
On Tuesday, Agarwal repeated the claim, this time citing the drop from 7 May when India recorded 4.14 lakh new cases to the daily report of 3.29 lakh cases Tuesday. On Wednesday, daily cases went up to 3.48 lakh.
Speaking to ThePrint, Dr V.K. Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, said, “It is difficult to make a prediction as to when numbers will come down or to what levels but one thing that we have seen the world over is that in the second wave the numbers come down more sharply than they go up.”
On 15 February, India had reported a total of 9,121 fresh Covid cases and there were 1.36 lakh active cases in the country on that day — this is the lowest active caseload that India had seen since it hit its first peak in September 2020. Numbers have been on a steady rise since 15 February but the curve became sharp and sudden from March with most states reporting exponential rise in cases.
533 districts have more than 10% positivity
India is currently in the throes of a virulent second wave of Covid with 533 of the 755 districts in the country reporting over 10 per cent positivity, according to data available with MoHFW. Of these, the maximum — 45 districts — are in Madhya Pradesh, followed by 38 in Uttar Pradesh and 36 in Maharashtra.
India’s total active caseload at present stands at 37.04 lakh today. It now comprises 15.87 per cent of the country’s total positive cases.
Ten states reported 71.22 per cent of the new cases in last 24 hours. Maharashtra reported the highest daily new cases at 40,956, followed by Karnataka with 39,510 and Kerala with 37,290.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.