According to tally by the Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, global death toll is now 100,376 with confirmed cases 1,650,210. Across the world, total recovered cases are 368,669 now. It also says that in India there are now 7,347 confirmed cases. Number of persons died in the country is 229. But Indian government data shows 6761 confirmed cases with 206 deaths.
The worrying factor in India is a new study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), which suggests that community transmission of COVID-19 may have begun in some parts of the country. The study, published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, suggests that out of 5,911 people across the country suffering from severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) since February, 104 were positive for COVID-19. Forty of these cases had neither a history of international travel, nor any contact with others who had COVID-19. Despite this fact, the ICMR had said about two weeks ago to NDTV, there is no community transmission. WHO defines community transmission as a situation in which a large number of cases have no travel history. But there is no definition of how ‘large’ it should be. That might have been the reason ICMR’s denial. Some of the worst affected districts included eight in Maharashtra, six in West Bengal and five each in Tamil Nadu and Delhi. Nearly 84% of SARI patients with COVID-19 in the study were men. Meanwhile, 82% of the patients (from all genders) were older than 40 years. The study also suggests that older people are more likely to contract COVID-19, a phenomenon seen in other parts of the world too. While 25% of the SARI patients were aged between 20 and 29 years, just nine of them had COVID-19.
In the midst of all these worrying data, India, in all likelihood, is going to extend the country-wide lockdown period. The three week lockdown is coming to an end in 14 April. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi is going to meet Chief Ministers via video conference on Saturday. He is likely to address the nation again after the meeting. If the lockdown is extended, there will be changes this time around. Interstate movement will remain restricted, except for essential services. Schools, colleges and religious institutions are likely to stay closed.
In fact, many states have sought extension given the magnitude of the spread of the virus now. Odisha yesterday became the first state to announce a lockdown till the end of this month.
Karnataka is also expected to seek an extension today. Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are among states that have called for a longer lockdown. West Bengal has also identified seven hotspots across the state and had plans to restrict the virus in those areas. However, she did not give names of the vulnerable areas.
Economist Abhijit Banerjee, who is part of a global advisory board to counsel chief minister Mamata Banerjee, has said that a grassroots reporting structure needs to be set up in the state so that more tests could be conducted, The Telegraph reported.
“The markets… when they are open, please make sure everyone wears a mask and ensure hand sanitisation or washing facilities at the entry and exit points,” he reportedly told the newspaper.
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