The fall and rise of India’s medical system against the second wave of Covid-19

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India, the second-most populous country globally, is currently reeling hard under the deadly second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The second wave of Covid-19 cases in India almost came like a Tsunami, with cases increasing from a mere few thousand per day to a mountain of nearly 4 lakh cases daily. The number of deaths has also been hovering over and above the 4000 marks every day in the past few days.

A virus that changed the lives of many forever

The second wave has taken all by surprise, crunching the government resources to the maximum and at the same time exposing the severe shortcomings in the Health Infrastructure of the country. Images of patients gasping for life-saving oxygen are flooding the news and social media, and the whole country has almost come to a standstill.

Many regarding its lack of foreplanning about the handling of the Covid pandemic, the government has also been criticized. The second wave of the pandemic was bound to come sooner or later, as witnessed in many countries worldwide, and the Indian government should have planned better for it, claiming many experts.

The number of covid cases had dipped quite substantially by the starting of 2021, bringing a much-needed relief after the massive rise in cases to almost 1 lac per day during the peak of the first wave. During the second wave, most of the total Covid cases have been reported from a few states, but the pandemic is far and widespread in its reach all over India.

The positivity rate of Covid cases had shot up to a surprising and worrying percentage of 20 percent or more in several states, with Goa reporting an alarming positivity rate of more than 50 percent and becoming the state with the highest positivity rate.

Mass gatherings and lack of foreplanning by the government authorities have been criticized by many during this devastating second wave of Covid pandemic. Another big impediment in controlling the country’s spiraling growth was the lack of awareness regarding basic Covid protocols among the general population, such as masking and social distancing. Due to its increased transmissibility, the double mutant strain of the Covid-19 virus is said to have been behind this exponential rise in infections in the nation.

How lack of medical facilities took the lives of many

The marginalized sections of society have found it even more challenging to get the diagnosis and timely treatment for the disease. Inequalities of income in society have placed even a higher burden of this disease on poor people. The second wave has been catastrophic and has wreaked havoc in the country. Many experts argue that the actual caseload and resulting deaths are far higher than being actually reported.

The latest surge in the number of infections has been unprecedented. As a result, there has been a severe shortage of life-saving medical supplies like oxygen, hospital beds, ventilators, and life-saving drugs.

New lockdowns are being imposed by several states to curb this pandemic’s menace and bring the number of cases to some stability and further decrease if possible. Notably, India spends a meager 1 percent of its GDP on the Health Sector.

India is now only second to the USA in terms of active Covid cases. The situation does not appear to be easing out suddenly anytime soon. Overall, there has been a slight reduction in the positivity rate and the number of cases in the country during the past few days.

This is a silver lining for the country during its testing times. India has been recording over 1 lakh covid cases per day since the first week of April 2021.

Read More : How Iron Dome became the savior for thousand

The world’s largest covid vaccination drive and its challenges

To curb this menace, vaccination is of utmost importance and seems to be the only viable solution. Vaccination in our country started with 45+ age group, and since May 1, it has been extended to the 18-44 age group. But there lies a significant impediment which is the acute shortage of vaccines in the country.

Two major vaccines have been administered till now, with Serum Institute’s Covishield comprising over 90 % of the vaccinations and the rest being covered by Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. But there is a crunch of vaccines in the country currently as production is not up to the required demand.

However, the situation might ease out in a few months. Recently, a third vaccine, Sputnik V from Russia, has also been approved by the country for inoculation to the general public. This is being done to ease out the vaccine crunch a wee bit in the country.

The Central Government has advised the states to inoculate the 45+ age beneficiaries with the second dose first and then move on to the 18+ age group, which is a wise decision, and many states have followed suit.

A few months back, India had an ample number of vaccines, but many were exported to the other countries in the world and to its neighbors. This might have been a lack of foresight on the government as procurement of enough vaccine doses for its population was and still is of utmost importance.

Vaccination of the maximum number of people would greatly help the country effectively fight this pandemic as vaccination is the key to reducing Coronavirus infections, related hospitalization, and deaths. Vaccination seems to be the only effective solution for India to tide over this second wave of the pandemic and possibly avoid the third wave.

covid-19

Current status of covid vaccination in India

Vaccination of adults above 18 years will go a long way in ensuring that this pandemic might wean out over time. Most adults will either have been vaccinated or would have been infected with the virus and hence acquired immunity against the disease. All people between the age group 18-44 have to register themselves on the government’s CoWin platform to get vaccinated.

It has been proven scientifically worldwide that vaccines are indeed effective against this disease. Regarding vaccination of children between the age group 2-18, Bharat Biotech has recently started trials for developing a vaccine, which is good news.

The demand for a jab is far greater than the supply, and hence if you wish to book a slot for vaccination nowadays, it is not an easy task. With many Indians out of the digital field with no access to smartphones, securing a slot for vaccination for them might become a difficult process.

The worrying part of all this is that this vaccine shortage has come when the country is already battling with a deadly second wave and a looming fear of an impending third wave.

Recently, the government has announced that it will able to manufacture ample vaccines for the Indian population. By the end of the year, the majority of the people will have been vaccinated.

India’s Covid cases are rising, and vaccination needs to be ramped up substantially. Our country is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer and certainly can do so.

Hopefully, the situation will ease out soon due to the government’s efforts, and more and more people will get vaccinated, which will indeed be a good sign for our country moving forward in its battle with the pandemic.

Useful links 

Covid Information Portal of Government of India 

Covid Vaccine Registration Portal

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