Vaccination is the Key

ON Tuesday, the fresh caseload in India declined to 2,08,921 which is slightly higher than around 190,000  on Monday, but overall, there has been a drastic reduction in the cases. This was hardly expected given the meteoric rise in the infections over the last three months. But at the same time, the number of fatalities has been more or less the same.  4,157 deaths were recorded on Tuesday.  The states with highest number of deaths are Maharashtra with 1137 cases,  Karnataka with 588 and  Tamil Nadu with 468. But the decrease in the overall caseload is something to cheer about. The infections have reduced sharply in New Delhi which until two weeks ago was a site of an unmitigated mayhem with skyrocketing cases overwhelming the healthcare facilities. Delhi’s Covid positivity rate has dipped below 2 percent, lowest in nearly two months. On Wednesday, Delhi  recorded 1,491 new Covid-19 cases in a span of 24 hours, the lowest since 27 March, while 130 fatalities were reported. The fall in the count of daily coronavirus cases and the shrinking positivity rate in the national capital can be attributed to the implementation of lockdown to combat the virus.

So, does this mean, the deadly second coronavirus wave in India has peaked? Not necessarily. While overall infections have markedly gone down, and the cases in the places like Delhi and Mumbai are tapering off, some states like Tamil Nadu, for example, as in much of the north east are still witnessing an upward trend. The situation in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal remains unclear. In Jammu and Kashmir too, though the cases are gradually dwindling, the fatalities have remained steady at around 50 a day, more of them in Jammu, despite the region recording half the cases in the Kashmir Valley.

Going by the trajectory of the first wave, the second  has started ebbing faster. The first wave tapered off over a period of six months from September to February. One reason for this, experts have contended, is that the virus may have already infected a critical mass of people,  initiating a herd immunity.

Be that as it may, the decreasing trend of the infections is a good news. The government should build upon it by speeding up the vaccination, something it has so far been woefully unable to do. One such stark example is the recent disappearance of vaccination in Kashmir Valley. For the situation to return to normal, creating conditions for reopening of the economy, the union government has to complement the declining cases with mass vaccination.

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