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Covid-19

What Is Driving A Surge In Covid-19 Cases In India?

Mask mandates in most of the states have been lifted and schools and educational institutions are fully functional across India.

A healthcare worker collects a nasal swab sample of a passenger for the Covid-19 test. (Photo: ANI )

India recorded 2,541 new Covid-19 cases and 54 deaths in 24 hours, taking the total caseload to 4,30,52,425, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday. Over the last week, there has been a surge in infections in the country. 

Delhi is among the states witnessing a gradual rise in cases. The national capital recorded 965 fresh infections and one death in 24 hours. The rise in cases among school children and teachers has raised concerns too. 

Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have made masks mandatory in public spaces or a fine would be imposed. 

What is driving Covid-19 rise in India?

Firstly, lifting of curbs across the country has been one of the contributors of Covid-19 rise. Mask mandates in most of the states have been lifted and schools and educational institutions are fully functional across India. Although Covid severity in children remains low, infections are spreading rapidly, considering most children are yet to be vaccinated. 

Secondly, the recent surge in cases in Delhi could be dominated by Omicron BA.2.12.1, which was found in 60% of the samples tested. The strain, which is dominant in the United States, is more transmissible than the previous Omicron variant. Health experts are of the opinion that eight Omicron variants are present, and one of those variants could be dominating the surge. 

The trend in Delhi is an indicator that other major cities including Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Bengaluru too could witness a rise in infections in the near future. 

But, does the surge in cases indicate a probable fourth wave in India? Experts believe the current surge cannot indicate a fresh wave. “What matters is how many people are getting severely ill and hospitalized and in need of intensive care and the number of deaths but those numbers are going to be very small, so we are not going to see a fourth wave in that sense,” K Srinath Reddy, president of Public Health Foundation of India, told Business Standard
According to health experts, there is a possibility that new variants of Omicron are emerging and the samples are being sequenced.