As coronavirus cases rise, expert says 'June to be worse'
India has witnessed a record spike in daily COVID-19 cases consecutively for the past four days. However, the situation is expected to worsen in June, an expert said. An epidemiologist who works as team lead for CARE India in Bihar, Tanmay Mahapatra, said that given the trend of the outbreak, it will worsen in June and peak in July, as experts have warned before.
'High likelihood that we may see peak in July'
Mahapatra told News18, "We are yet to see the worst. The way things are going, we can expect June to be much worse than April and May. There's a high likelihood that we may see the peak in July." He stressed on the need to conduct random testing in areas where not many cases have been reported to understand the trend of asymptomatic transmission.
Containment zones, hotspots should be smaller, says Mahapatra
Mahapatra advised that containment zones should be considered on a more "granular level" henceforth suggesting smaller zones/hotspots that have a large population. He also said that the recent spike could be attributed to several reasons such as an increase in testing or rise in activity.
'Cannot keep India on lockdown forever'
Mahapatra said the spike could be because of the rise in activity and hence, cautioned that the lifting of the lockdown must be gradual. He said, "You cannot keep a country like India under lockdown forever. Some parts of the economy would need to be opened but that does not mean that the general public starts traveling from everywhere to everywhere."
Will India follow in Iran's footsteps?
Since India has started easing restrictions, COVID-19 cases have surged. This stands as a warning that the lifting of the lockdown must be gradual, as evidenced in other nations. In late April, Iran had started reopening its economy after it brought down its daily average COVID-19 cases to around 1,000. By May, the infections had started to rise as Iran witnessed a second wave.
Other nations also witnessed surge after easing restrictions
Similarly, several European countries witnessed a surge in cases after they eased restrictions. In Asia, South Korea had detected new clusters as it reopened bars and clubs. In China's Wuhan city—where the outbreak first emerged—new infections were recorded for the first time in several weeks.
How bad is the outbreak in India?
According to the Union Health Ministry, by 8 am on Monday, India had reported 1,38,845 COVID-19 cases. These include 4,021 deaths and 77,103 active cases along with 57,720 cured or discharged patients and one patient who migrated out of India. With this, India has now recorded the tenth-highest number of infections in the world, surpassing Iran, which has reported 1.35 lakh cases.