During the first wave of the pandemic in 2020, India recorded over 90,000 new COVID19 cases every day. The highest single-day recorded at 97,894 on September 16. Daily case numbers steadily decreased to approximately 10,000 in early February 2021.
The declining numbers ignited conversations about whether many Indians, especially those living in densely populated urban centers, might have already been exposed to the virus. Thus conferring some immune support to limit reinfection.
Scientists sequenced viral genetic material from a mere 1 percent of all COVID19 cases reported from January to March 2021.
“We cannot tell if variants are responsible because we’re not sequencing enough,” stated Satyajit Rath, an immunologist associated with the Indian Institute of Science Education. “It’s not just inadequate but pathetic.”
A careless approach towards wearing masks and social distancing resulted in severe national lockdown from March to June 2020. A misleading sense of triumph over COVID-19 inspired gatherings at weddings, political rallies, and religious ceremonies. “All those became superspreader events,” Jameel stated.
The virus circulated and overwhelmed India’s health care system when people mixed and traveled.
The central government leaped into action in late April as the extent of the crisis became clear. The Modi’s administration struggled to deliver more oxygen supplies to states, hanging all oxygen use for industrial purposes to free up stocks for medical use. In contrast, other supplies come from international aid.
Modi has also refused to impose a national lockdown and urged states to avoid doing so as well, calling such measures the “last option.” Instead, he has supported “micro containment zones” where restrictions focus on areas of concern.