What made India explosive to the "double mutant" that surge the Covid-19 Indian cases to 4 lakhs (approx) and 3523 reported deaths in the last 24 hours, presented by Economic Times' live blog, dated May 01, 2021.
"Immediately lock yourself in your homes for coming weeks, spend quality time with your loved ones, care for each other, and we'll be back to normal" seems to be the only possible interpretation of the devastating situation in India. We were gushing back to our new normal while weathering the Covid-19 in India that suddenly saw a strike in the rise of infections that surges to the highest number in a single day.
Battling with the deadliest for one long year with the best of health personnel and worldwide aid, India again falls into the delicate phase of the outbreak of the pandemic, leaving millions of people unanswered to the death trolls of their loved ones. But, where did it all started that created havoc in the South-Asian country?
The Covid-19 First Case In India
Living in the good old days of hanging out with friends, meeting people, attending social gatherings without masks, and suddenly Covid-19 news flashes out reporting the first case in India. The first case reported in Kerela, India, on January 30, 2020, marked the beginning of the bad times, leaving millions of people infected along with unwanted deaths and also, put down the Indian economy to its lowest values.
Report of the first case published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research (IJMR): As of January 27, 2020, when a 20-year-old female admitted to the Emergency Department in General Hospital, Thrissur, Kerala, with a complaint of one day of sore throat and dry cough. There were no signs of fever, shortness of breath, and rhinitis. She returned to Kerela from Wuhan city, China, the epicenter of the Coronavirus (CoV). The outbreak of the virus led to the pandemic situation worldwide. She remained asymptomatic between January 23 and 26.
The Kerela State authorities instructed the girl to visit a healthcare facility on developing any symptoms because of the girl's travel history to China. Everything seemed normal, but her travel history alerted the team to put her in isolation until further tests and for the general examination. An oropharyngeal swab sent to the ICMR-National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, for the detection on January 27, 2020, conducting the first Covid-19 test. The oropharyngeal swabs for the diagnosis of COVID-19 infection collected every alternative day amidst her 24-day quarantine stay and tested positive till the 17th day and negative on the 19th, 21st, and 23rd day.
The Lockdown Phase
Look back to the not-so cheerful times of March 2020, when the first lockdown imposed, putting everything to hold. Also, there were no sufficient PPE kits, Covid-19 test kits, and masks to protect the Corona Warriors from the infection. Our honorable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modiji, through a television address to the nation, called for the complete lockdown for 21 days to resist the pernicious effects of the Coronavirus. The pandemic situation led India to be self-sufficient in everything from PPE kits, masks to sanitizers, test kits, and hospital arrangements.
With the help of health experts, he made the entire nation succumb to the norms of the lockdown and tried to break the chain of transmission. As rising cases of Covid-19 in India started to smash the healthcare systems, lockdown extended for another 21 days to control the spread. The social distancing, wearing the masks, sanitization, and regular washing of hands became the new normal to the latest adaptations of the vulnerable situation in India. The lockdown continued because of the billowing Covid-19 India cases.
"Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV," as published by IJMR.
The novel Coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread across the globe and created a global pandemic situation in 2020 but in its different nature and different strains. NDTV shared the Covid-19 news by explaining that "the virus spread in the world may not be the same as the originating one. Like other viruses, it can change its genetic structure because of the process called a mutation."
The Covid-19 is a disease caused by the new and mutated strains of Coronavirus. The dominant strain found in Europe and later in Malaysia is called D614G. There was a reinfected case of Coronavirus in Hongkong and China is also caused by another strain of the Coronavirus. According to Dr Preeti Kumar, reported in NDTV's article, there can be multiple strains floating, but only one or two dominate because of the mutation of the Corona Virus. It has a faster spreading power than the original one. The Indian strain, called "double mutant" or B.1.617 and caused a severity as the Covid-19 hits the second wave in India is similar to the UK variant called B.1.351, first identified in the US at the end of January 2021 and initially detected in South Africa in December 2020 as per the reports by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Researchers outside of India say the limited data so far suggests instead that the variant called B.1.1.7, which has affected Britain and the United States, is more likely to blame for the spread of "double mutant," mentioned in The New York Times.
The First Wave and Second Wave of Covid-19
The Covid-19 news became the most viewed subject amidst the lockdown when the COVID cases experienced a sharp strike. The Covid-19 India cases rose higher and higher from 100 (March 15) to -10,000 (April 14) and confirmed up to the 1000 deaths as per The Indian Express article of Covid-19 timeline. The first wave has already started hitting India and its healthcare system by reporting the "86000 (May 17) total Covid cases, May 19- crossing the mark of 1 Lakh cases to recording more than 2,50,000 cases (June 8) and 7200 recorded deaths. The data was unstoppable as on June 27, with more than 5 lakh cases, it goes up to 6.97 lakh cases on 6 July. By July 17, Covid-19 in India crosses another mark of 10 lakh.
India saw another spike and breaks its record of single-day reported cases with 97,570 fresh Covid cases by September 12, 2020, and confirmed up to the five million (50 lakh) Coronavirus cases on September 16, 2020. By September 21, 2020, with restrictions being lifted, "India reports over 1 lakh coronavirus recoveries in a single day for the first time, improving the recovery rate to 80.86 percent," mentioned in The Indian Express article of Covid-19 timeline.
The first wave seemed to dwindle, and everything was surging back to our normal routines with more functionality around us in further months that recorded a fluctuation in the Covid-19 cases. There were very few cases in January, February, and March but April seemed to be the worst month in the pandemic era hitting India with the second wave.
The Second wave is disastrous with no oxygen, no beds, no hospitals, and no fully-equipped medical aid. The deadly wave recorded millions of new cases and mark up to 4 lakh freshly recorded cases in a single day and 3523 reported deaths (Economic Times) and making the highest record globally. It left millions of people infected and abandoned on the roads, ambulances, and private vehicles, scouting for medical help.
"Officially, by the end of April, more than 17.9 million infections had been confirmed, and more than 200,000 people were dead," data by The New York Times. Large gatherings, Political rallies, and religious festivals with the mutated variant called " the double mutant," led to the explosion in India. Also, the lack of precautionary measures led to this devastating situation.
The people are scrambling as hospitals experienced a shortage of oxygen supplies, medicines, injections, beds, and ventilators. The situation outbreak in two major states, Maharashtra and Delhi, where there were more than 60,000 and 26,000 cases respectively, reported in a single day.
The Vaccination Drive
The exposition to the novel Coronavirus is its Vaccine. Amidst the pandemic in 2020, scientists, researchers, and experts started working on finding the Vaccine to stop the effects.
The worldwide trials began to find the solution to break the pandemic situation. "The Phase-1 clinical trial has begun on July 15, 2020, of the indigenous Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, developed by Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the National Institute of Virology and Indian Council of Medical Research (The Indian Express). Serum Institute of India starts India trials of Covishield, the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate, with two volunteers in Pune’s Bharati Vidyapeeth Medical College receiving the first shots."
The Covid-19 vaccine was launched on 16th January 2021, with Covaxin and Covishield. The first shot given to health workers or front-liners supported the infections day and night. Another group of people aged 60 years and above and 45 years and above with co-morbidities, the third came people above 45 years of age and from May 1, 2021, 18 years and above are eligible to get the vaccine shots.
Vaccine diplomacy became the latest news to talk about as India, one of the largest vaccine manufacturers, still suffered a shortage of vaccine doses. India on a record-making of the highest global Covid-19 cases faces criticism against the vaccine supply.
The Vaccine Mairti Programme led India to be at the forefront to help the neighboring countries. India exported a total of 66 million vaccine doses as mentioned in The Hindu without completing the inoculation program of its people in the nation. As per the Livemint reports, "about 118 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, which is only about a tenth of the 1.35 billion population." It has only administered 140 million doses to the frontliners and people above 45 years of age.
"India can produce 2 million vaccine doses per day but needs to scale up the vaccination program by 6-7 million of vaccination per day to cut down the second surge," said Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist for the World Health Organization to PBS News Hour. Also, India is running short with its raw material to produce vaccines. The Russia's 'Sputnick V' is also heading towards India to cut down the chain.
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Stay Safe! The Covid-19 Indian cases are stemming the largest records. The cases and deaths became uncountered and uncounted. The best possible escape can be to get yourself vaccinated as soon as possible and do not step out unless its urgent as the second wave slides India into a noxious crisis.