Over the last two days, India has recorded a daily COVID-19 case load of more than two lakh, setting new and rather alarming records. At the same time, the death toll has gradually risen, to 1,185 deaths in the last 24 hours. As of Friday morning, date, the cumulative death toll has risen to 1,74,308.
But as the second wave of the pandemic runs its course, reports suggest that things might get progressively worse. According to a research report put together by the members of The Lancet COVID-19 Commission's India Task Force, the death toll may soon find itself doubling.
"It is imperative to break the transmission spread of the disease and reduce the number of new cases. In absence of such efforts, worst case scenarios project that India could lose nearly 1,750 lives to COVID-19 per day, rising to approximately 2,320 per day by the first week of June 2021," the researchers warn.
They contend that the second wave is somewhat different from the wave that crested in 2020, in part because of the accelerated rate at which cases are now rising. As the paper notes, test positivity rates (TPRs) rose nationwide from 2.8% in the first week of April 2021 to 10.3% by April 10th 2021 with wide regional variation, peaking in Maharashtra at 25%. At the same time, while the overall Case Fatality Ratio (CFR) appears to be lower this time around, India continues to report hundreds of casualties on a daily basis.
The report also emphasises the need to vaccinate all priority population groups and calls for non-medical precautions such as usage of masks, social distancing and the like, both befoe and after inoculation. "We strongly recommend a temporary ban on gatherings of groups larger than 10 for the next two months," the report adds.