Published On : Sat, Apr 17th, 2021

India may witness 2,320 daily Covid-19 deaths by June first week: Lancet study

Nagpur: As India is witnessing a torrent of Covid-19 cases, a study by a medical journal said that the country may witness 1,750 coronavirus-related deaths per day, surging to around 2,320 by the first week of June. A report on the study of the Lancet Covid-19 Commission has been prepared by India Task Force members.

The report, titled “Managing India’s second COVID-19 wave: Urgent steps”, underlines the key elements of the second Covid-19 wave. It also suggests measures that should be taken now to help mitigate the spread of infection. As per the preliminary review of the report, “while the pandemic has spread, the geographic contours of the second wave closely mirror those of the first wave, though with a deeper penetration into tier-2 and tier-3 cities.”

The study also indicates that the second wave has been more geographically bundled so far. The tally of districts constituting the top 50% of the cases has fallen from over 40 at the time of the first peak to less than 20 presently. As a matter of fact, at the time of the first surge of the novel coronavirus cases during August-September 2020, the count of districts contributing to 75% of the total Covid-19 cases was 60-100, whereas it has been approx 20-40 districts during the second wave. It took 40 days to go from 10K-80K in COVID-19 second wave

The second wave is unlike the first in two significant ways. Firstly, the rate of increase in fresh coronavirus cases is substantially higher. The surge from 10,000 to 80,000 fresh cases per day from February to April has taken less than 40 days. It was 83 days in September last year. Secondly, more coronavirus cases are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, causing relatively low rates of hospitalisation and mortality. It is not completely clear whether the higher proportions of asymptomatic cases are solely due to better contact tracing, more family members, for example, being tested.

Case fatality may rise with surge in Covid-19 cases:
The overall Case Fatality Ratio (CFR) since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 has been reported to be around 1.3%. The CFR among Covid-19 patients who have contracted the infection since the beginning of 2021 is considerably less at 0.87%. Tentatively, it appears that CFR is lower in the second wave of Covid-19. Yet India is registering 664 fatalities per day across the country (seven-day moving average as of April 10, 2021). Furthermore, disruptions to regular health services, for instance, regular inoculation and delivery care, could have catastrophic implications for maternal and child survival.