Coronavirus: Is India's decline in infections cause for celebration?
India on Monday reported 2.81 lakh new COVID-19 cases, the lowest single-day spike in nearly a month. However, the outbreak is raging in rural India, where most of the country's population resides. Experts also warn that the lack of testing in India also means that the actual number of infections and fatalities could be five to 10 times higher. Here are more details.
India's tally reaches 2.49 crore cases, 2.74 lakh deaths
According to the Union Health Ministry, till Monday morning, India reported a total of 2,49,65,463 COVID-19 cases. The death toll has reached 2,74,390. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 2,11,74,076 patients have recovered, while 36,18,458 cases involve active infections. In the past 24 hours alone, India recorded 2,81,386 new infections and 4,106 fresh fatalities. 18,29,26,460 vaccine doses have been administered so far.
Infections decline in worst-hit states
As many as 34,389 more people tested positive in Maharashtra. However, 974 people died in a single day. Karnataka—the second worst-hit state after Maharashtra—reported 31,531 new cases. Meanwhile, the third worst-hit Kerala added 29,704 new cases and Uttar Pradesh reported 10,682 new cases. Tamil Nadu—the fifth worst-hit state—reported 33,181 new cases, the first time in the 33 days that daily infections have declined.
India's outbreak sees decline in infections
Experts believe the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak peaked in early May and infections may finally be declining. However, with an average of 3.4 lakh daily cases last week, India will take a while before the curve flattens. Some experts also warn that the declining trend can be attributed to a drop in cases in regions with big populations and/or higher testing rates.
Nationwide tally may misrepresent actual outbreak: Experts
Experts also warn that the nationwide tally may misrepresent the actual state of the outbreak as it does not represent smaller outbreaks in other regions. The plateau could also be the result of the virus outrunning India's testing capabilities, experts told the Associated Press. The surging outbreak in India's rural areas—where the health infrastructure is insufficient—has also become a cause of concern.
Increase in testing not substantial as infections rise
The actual number of infections and fatalities could be five to 10 times higher, experts warn. In the last month, while infections have tripled and deaths have magnified six times, testing has only been expanded 1.6 times while vaccinations have declined by 40%.