India’s total case count for COVID-19 has now exceeded 200,000, with a total of 208,709 at the time of writing.
This follows several days of high daily increases, numbering in excess of 8,000 per day for several days now. Maharashtra is currently India’s largest hotspot for the disease, having reported a total of 72,300 cases so far — almost 50,000 more than Tamil Nadu, with 24,586, and Delhi, with 22,132. Maharashtra has also reported the highest number of fatalities — 2,465, followed by Gujarat (1,092), Delhi (556) and Madhya Pradesh (364). States that have reported more than 5,000 cases are Madhya Pradesh (8,420), Rajasthan (9,373), Uttar Pradesh (8,361) and West Bengal (6,168).
The Health Ministry acknowledged during a press conference on June 2nd that India is likely to be far from a COVID-19 peak. Indeed the country has seen a consistent increase in daily cases since the outbreak of the virus, with the current caseload accelerating rapidly. “We are very far away from the peak,” Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) official Nivedita Gupta said. “Our preventive measures to curb the disease are very effective and we are better-positioned in comparison with other countries. You will get to see the data in a week.”
However, as reported by Health Issues India earlier this week, the Centre continues to cling to claims that community transmission of COVID-19 is not occurring in India. However, according to a report drafted by epidemiologists, public health practitioners and experts in preventive and social medicine, “community transmission is already well-established across large sections or sub-populations in the country.”
COVID-19 cases in India are now at an all time high. Removal of the lockdown measures is on the cards across the coming months, all while community transmission is occurring under the radar. It is likely that as lockdown measures are removed more cases will continue to spread unnoticed and pass into so-called “green zones” in which transmission is not yet occurring, spreading the disease further.
India is in a unique position among the countries with the highest burdens of COVID-19. This is in part due to its position as the second-most populous nation on earth, home to more than a billion people. With India’s diverse geography and population dynamics — including difficult-to-reach rural areas with limited access to healthcare — should COVID-19 continue to spread at this rate, the situation may become uncontrollable.