India tops Global Covid-19 trajectory, will the Health Minister speak up?

On Saturday, India’s total reached 34,63,973 cases, the third consecutive day when over 70,000 cases have been recorded


There were around 76,472 cases reported in India in the last 24 hours. On Saturday the number of coronavirus infections was at 34,63,973. This is the third consecutive day when over 70,000 cases have been recorded in India, reported Indian Express. It added that with 1,021 deaths recorded in the same period, the country’s toll has reached 62,500. The number of active cases in India now stands at 7,52,424 and recoveries is at 26,48,999. 

Just the day before, on Friday, India reached the unfortunate position as the country to record the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world. In this segment of daily case count, India overtook even the United States (US), which at its peak was the nation worst-hit by the pandemic. According to official numbers, India has, on an average, reported around 69,558 new cases every day. This, as analysed by The Hindustan Times, places us “above the seven-day daily case peak recorded in the US when the number touched 69,330 for the week ending July 25.” 

On Friday, India reported 76,139 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total number of cases in the country to 34,58,186. India remains at the third position in the total number of cases, after the US which has over six million confirmed infections, and Brazil, which is the country with the second-highest number of total cases, has around 3,50,000 more cases than India. 

India’s doubling rate (time it takes for the total cases in the country to double) was 32 days on Friday, and the HT reports that it was 96 days in the US and 68 in Brazil. This too is a worrisome number, it means cases in India are rising “at an alarming rate” in comparison. India has the worst doubling rate among the world’s 10 worst-hit nations, reports the HT.

However, there is some solace that the number of deaths is low, till Friday it was 62,703 making India’s case fatality rate (CFR) 1.8%, much lower than the global average of 3.4%, but also better than the US (3.1%) and Brazil (3.2%), stated the news report.

Meanwhile, many senior politicians have continued to share that they too have tested positive for Coronavirus. The latest being Bharatiya Janata Party’s Uttarakhand chief Bansidhar Bhagat, and Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister Satish Mahana announcing that they have tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday. According to the Indian Express, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh quarantined himself after two Congress MLAs who met him during the assembly session on Friday tested positive for Covid-19. 

As the Monsoon Session of Parliament is due to be held soon, Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla has urged all Members of Parliament to get themselves tested for Covid-19  at least 72 hours before the start of the session. Unfortunately, the Congress MP from Kanyakumari, H Vasanthakumar (70) died of Covid-19 on Friday at the Apollo Hospitals in Chennai. He had been admitted for treatment on August 10.

Due to the rising cases, the Haryana government has said that all shops, malls, and offices will remain shut on Mondays and Tuesdays till further orders. The IE reports that this revised decision comes barely a week after the government had re-imposed weekend lockdown restrictions ordering that all shops and offices (except those dealing in essential services) shall remain shut. Jharkhand too extended lockdown restrictions in the state till September 30, as its Covid-19 tally rose to 34,676 on Friday, there are around 10,799 active coronavirus cases in the state.

The top ten states with maximum caseloads now have over one lakh infections stated IE, Assam joined the list on Friday. The IE added that every state and union territory in the country, except Lakshadweep, now has at least 1,000 people who have been infected with the disease. Lakshadweep continues to remain completely untouched by the epidemic, with no case of infection having been reported from the islands so far.

Andhra Pradesh crossed the four-lakh figure for confirmed infections, and has been reporting more than 10,000 new cases every day. Maharashtra, has been discovering more than 14,000 cases for the last few days, said news reports. Gujarat reported its highest single-day spike on Friday with 1,272 new Covid-19 cases, a total tally of 92,792, and the death crossing 3,000.

Meanwhile Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, is happy to focus on recoveries and share the rise in testing numbers as an achievement. “In its fight against COVID-19 since January 2020, India has crossed another peak. The cumulative tests have seen an unprecedented upsurge and surpassed 4 crore today,” he tweeted.  


According to news flashed over social media, he also chaired the 20th meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on Covid-19 in New Delhi on Saturday, and “expressed satisfaction at various coordinated efforts of the Centre & those of the States/UTs.”

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare too is sharing news only on the increased testing, calling it an “unprecedented upsurge in testing,” as the number crossed the 4 crore milestone with 4,04,06,609 people getting tested. India’s Tests Per Million (TPM) are now at 29,280. According to MOHW with “the positivity rate will eventually fall with higher levels of testing.” The national positivity rate is at  8.57%  and the ministry states that the “active cases are only 22%” of the total Covid-19 cases, as recoveries are now at 26 lakh, exceeding active cases by more than 18 lakh.

However, as Dr Thekkekara Jacob John, a former head of clinical virology at Christian Medical College, Tamil Nadu, told the New York Times, “India was heading toward a peak in September.” He stated that the government “had not followed a careful exit strategy from its strict lockdown,” adding that people were tired of staying indoors  and were ignoring the rules about social distancing. “Now they think it is better to get the virus than to stay hungry inside,” Dr. John told NY Times. He added that some parts of India had entered the widespread transmission stage” and also that the disease had begun to spread to the rural areas of the countries now, including tribal zones such as Andaman and Nicobar Islands. “When a tribal group gets affected,” Dr. John said, “that means the virus is everywhere.”

A massive warning sign that the Union Health Minister must no longer ignore. Perhaps, he can begin with reassuring citizens and share the GOI plan of action in an address to the nation?



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