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Warning! India likely to witness COVID-19 cases peak coming week

Healthcare workers collect swab samples from passengers as others wait for their turn upon arrival at a railway station during a rapid antigen testing drive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mumbai, India, November 29, 2021. REUTERS/Niharika Kulkarni

New COVID- Experts said on Thursday that 19 infections in Indian cities such as the capital New Delhi and Mumbai might reach a peak next week after rapidly increasing, as the country reported the highest number of daily cases since late May.

The news: The 247,417 new infections per day were more than 30 times greater than a month previously, as Delta was replaced by the more transmissible Omicron variety across the country. The total number of illnesses was 36.32 million, second only to the United States.

  • Last Friday, Mumbai saw a peak of 20,971 infections, but since then, the number of cases has decreased. The rate of infection was also decreasing, according to city officials, with roughly 80% of COVID-19 hospital beds unoccupied.
  • On Wednesday, Delhi reported more than 27,500 illnesses, nearing an all-time high, and the city’s health minister told local media this week that infections could begin to decline in a few days.

What they’re saying: “Our modelling, as well as that of others,” said Gautam Menon, a physics and biology professor at Ashoka University near the capital, “suggests that the big Indian cities should have their maxima in cases close to Jan. 20, while the general peak throughout India may be delayed a bit later, to early February.”

  • According to federal and state health experts, the majority of infections in the current third wave are mild, with fewer hospitalizations and fatalities than the previous wave, which killed hundreds of thousands of people in April and May.
  • People with mild fever caused by COVID-19 should be treated with ordinary pain medications such as paracetamol, according to the health ministry. It has, however, advised against complacency, noting that illnesses have now spread to as many as 300 districts, up from less than 80 just a week ago.
  • “Experience from other countries tells us that tracking/monitoring hospitalizations rather than new instances is more practicable,” said Rajib Dasgupta, head of the Centre of Social Medicine & Community Health at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
  • “With rapid and inexorable community transmission, non-pharmaceutical interventions – lockdowns, etc. – are quickly losing their significance.”
  • Despite this, many towns and states, including Delhi, have implemented night curfews. On weekends, Delhi is completely shut down, with private offices, schools, and restaurants closed throughout the week.

Nearly 70% of India’s 939 million adult population has received two primary vaccination doses, yet many are still unprotected. This has alarmed officials, particularly because elections in five states begin on February 10.

On Thursday, the country reported 380 COVID-19 deaths, with more than 46 percent of those occurring in Kerala, the southernmost state. The total number of deaths has reached 485,035, second only to the United States and Brazil.

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