The second Covid-19 wave is more infectious and is spreading at a faster pace as compared to the first wave that hit India last year. As per the health ministry's data, the Covid-19 tally reached 97,894 cases per day from 8,105 cases per day in 110 days during the first wave. In the second wave, which started to show an upward trend in February, Covid-19 cases spiked from 8,365 cases per day to 1,03,558 per day in just 62 days.
The pace at which the second wave is spreading shows how new strains of coronavirus are making it difficult to contain the spread in the country, especially in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, and Karnataka. The Covid-19 spike comes even as India carries out world's biggest vaccination programme. The country crossed the landmark milestone of highest single day vaccine coverage of over 43 lakh doses in the last 24 hours alone. So far, 8 crore jabs have been administered, while 25 crore people have been tested for coronavirus.
Top officials have warned the second wave of coronavirus could be more dangerous than the previous one. The most affected state Maharashtra has already imposed a weekend lockdown along with several restrictions. Pune has also closed hotels, malls and religious places for the next seven days. Delhi has also imposed a night curfew as cases rise at an alarming rate. Similar restrictions are in place in other majorly affected states.
Senior NITI Aayog Member Vinod Kumar Paul said on March 30 that "if the cases are more, they will eventually overwhelm the system". Admitting the situation is becoming bad to worse, he termed it a "serious concern". "In some states in particular, there is a huge cause of worry. No part of the country should be complacent," he said.
With cases spreading rapidly, India could soon surpass Brazil to become the second most affected Covid-hit country after the United States. The US is still the most affected country with 3.07 crore Covid-19 cases, followed by Brazil with 1.3 crore infections and India with 1.26 crore cases, John Hopkins University data suggests.
Globally, 7.4 crore have been infected with coronavirus, and 28.6 lakh people have succumbed to the contagion.
India's second wave has put extreme pressure on states like Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab to take containment measures, which is making life difficult for businesses as well as citizens. These eight states account for 80 per cent of the cases being reported daily.
In the past 24 hours, 96,982 people have been infected with coronavirus and 446 people have died, the ministry data suggests. A day before that, India crossed the grim milestone of 1 lakh cases, reporting 1,03,558 cases in just one day.
To put a stop to the rising Covid-19 graph, the Centre has also rushed 50 high-level multi-disciplinary public health teams to these states to examine the testing and vaccination process and to find out the reasons behind the Covid surge.
Considering the severity of the situation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also decided to interact with chief ministers on Thursday. The leaders will discuss the further course of action that can be taken to control the rising number of cases.