India has been reporting an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases, indicating that the second wave is likely to wreak more havoc despite the ongoing mass vaccination drive.
On March 26, India reported 59,118 new coronavirus infections in a day, the highest single-day rise so far this year. With this, the nationwide COVID-19 tally has mounted to 1,18,46,652, while the death toll increased to 1,60,949 with 257 daily new fatalities.
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Registering an increase for the 16th day in a row, the active cases have increased to 4,21,066, breaching the 4 lakh-mark again after around three-and-half months.
For the week ending March 25, India reported an average of 47,442 new infections every day. This is the highest seven-day average since October 28, as per a Hindustan Times report.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Only seven days ago, the national seven-day average of daily cases was 28,551, the report said, adding that in just a week, new infections increased by 66 percent.
This indicates that the COVID-19 cases reported during the second wave are growing at a much faster rate than that seen during the first wave India witnessed in August and September.
Moreover, the doubling time of COVID-19 cases in India has decreased from 504.4 days on March 1 to 202.3 days on March 23, the Health Ministry said.
Read: Doubling time of COVID-19 cases in India decreases from 504.4 days to 202.3 days, says Health Ministry
At present, six states -- Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat -- have reported a surge in daily new cases. According to Health Ministry data, they together account for 80.63 percent of the new cases reported in the last 24 hours.
"Three states - Maharashtra, Kerala and Punjab - account for 74.32 percent of total active cases in the country. Maharashtra alone accounts for 62.91 percent of the total active cases in the country," the Health Ministry said.
According to a recent SBI report, the second wave of COVID-19 may peak in the second half of April and the entire duration of the second wave may last up to 100 days beginning February 15.
"Though the second wave is much higher in intensity than the first wave, the presence of vaccine makes the difference currently. Thus, we will be able to manage the situation better," SBI's Group Chief Economic Advisor Soumya Kanti Ghosh said in the report.
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