By Thursday, July 2nd, India registered 6,04,641 cases of COVID-19 after 19,148 new cases were reported over the preceding 24 hours. 434 people died over this same time period, pushing the death toll up to 17,834.
Of the 434 COVID-19 deaths reported over the 24-hour period, 198 were from Maharashtra; 63 from Tamil Nadu; 61 from Delhi; 21 each from Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat; fifteen from West Bengal, nine from Madhya Pradesh; eight from Rajasthan; seven each from Telangana and Karnataka; six from Andhra Pradesh; five from Punjab; four each from Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir; three from Bihar and one each from Chhattisgarh and Goa. Though the figures already look dire, experts believe that the situation is likely to quickly become far worse. Figures support this, with both the daily case and death counts showing a consistent upward trajectory, indicating that figures may soon skyrocket.
Half of India, or approximately 670 million people, could potentially be infected by COVID-19 as the disease runs its course through the country. This opinion is held by prominent epidemiologists such as Dr Jayaprakash Muliyil, former principal of the Christian Medical College in Vellore and chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Institute of Epidemiology.
Dr Muliyil said he “accepted and agreed with Harvard professor Ashish Jha’s forecast, that India could see a total of 200,000 cases a day by August.” Dr Muliyil was a guest on the ninth episode of PandemiCast, a video podcast concerning the pandemic which is co-hosted and co-produced by Health Issues India.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that countries who do not make use of every available resource will struggle to control COVID-19 outbreaks. “Some countries … have taken a fragmented approach. These countries face a long, hard road ahead,” Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing from WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr Tedros did not single out any nations.
Indeed, countries such as the United States that have employed asymmetric strategies in addressing the virus have witnessed case counts surge. India, with its diverse range of geographies displaying considerable differences in healthcare infrastructure capacity between rural and urban locales and even districts, faces a major struggle going forwards. Community transmission within India’s rural locations could see COVID-19 become an endemic issue. Given the potential for mutation, it is becoming increasingly likely that COVID-19 becomes an equivalent to the flu, surging yearly.