• Ayudra Fitrananda

The Second Wave of the Pandemic Hits India

Updated: Jun 5, 2021

Some countries have recovered from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, while some are still fighting it. However, other places have already been hit with the second wave of the outbreak. On February 10th the second wave of the SARS-CoV-2 infection surged in India, infecting 11,000 people in a day. The number of cases continued to increase and within 24 hours on April 23rd, there were 346,789 positive cases, breaking the highest record of confirmed COVID-19 cases in a day worldwide.

Political rallies for local elections and religious festivals were allowed to be held after India’s recovery from the first wave, drawing in criticism that was addressed to the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. He was criticized for not being able to prepare for the second wave of the outbreak and for not advising the citizens to follow proper health protocol.

Ramanan Laxminarayan from the Center for Disease Dynamic, Economics, and Policy in New Delhi stated that it was not only the new variant but their complacency and the permission for mass gatherings that have led them into a second wave of the outbreak.

As of April 24th, India is second on the list of highest coronavirus cases with 16.6 million cases. On the same day, 2,621 people died, another new record for the country.

“Right now, there are no beds, no oxygen. Everything else is secondary,” said Shahid Jameel, a virologist, and director of the Trivedi School of Biosciences at Ashoka University.

Six hospitals in New Delhi are running out of oxygen. Satyendar Jain, the Delhi Health Minister, said they need 5,000 more intensive care beds to support the unceasing cases. The neighboring states are also trying to preserve their supplies, making it harder for India’s health care system to sustain itself.

With the worsening of the coronavirus outbreak, the government has responded with preventive measures to limit the spread of the virus. As a last resort, Narendra Modi ordered an extensive lockdown while also ensuring that citizens have received maximum vaccination coverage by enforcing the vaccination program. Currently, India is in phase II of their vaccination program, where they are aiming to significantly cover the most vulnerable group (the population of people over 45 years of age) with vaccinations by April 30th. In phase III, targeted to start on May 1st, they plan to liberalize vaccine pricing to attract more vaccine manufacturers, making the vaccine production more flexible and widely available for citizens.

India’s government has been coordinating with research institutes and private sectors to support the vaccination program with domestic research and development, domestic manufacturing, and the creation of an effective vaccine administration strategy.

Recently, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare also released a new management algorithm for adult COVID-19 patients. In the new guideline, patients with upper respiratory tract symptoms without shortness of breath or hypoxia (when a person is lacking oxygen in the body) are recommended for home isolation and home care. Additionally, with the massive resurgence of COVID-19 cases in India, several countries have suspended travel to or from India, like Australia and Canada. Boris Johnson and Yoshihide Suga, the prime minister of Britain and Japan respectively, also canceled their plans to visit the country.

“If we declare success too soon, open up everything, give up on public health, and not vaccinate rapidly, the new variants can be devastating,” said Madhukar Pai, professor of Epidemiology at McGill University in Canada. With the aftermath resulting in thousands of new cases and deaths, declining supplies of oxygen and beds, and the emerging new variant in their country, India’s tale of the second wave of the outbreak has become a warning for the world to not let their guard down and to keep fighting the virus.


Speaking Plainly:

  • India’s second wave outbreak is breaking the world record for new daily cases.

  • Hospitals are running out of oxygen and hospital beds.

  • The government is issuing lockdowns, massive vaccine enrollment, and management guidelines to maintain the condition of their health system.