No control over Covid-19 infections

Nearly two-thirds of people tested in India have shown exposure to Covid-19, a chain of private laboratories said on Wednesday, indicating a runaway spread of the virus as the daily death toll rose to a record 4,529.

India reported 276,110 new daily infections on Thursday, taking its tally to 25.7 million, the world's second highest after the United States (33 million), with a death toll of 287,122, health ministry data showed.

For months, no other country has been hit harder than India by the pandemic, as a new variant discovered there fuelled a surge of up to more than 400,000 new infections a day.

Only the United States has had a worse single-day death toll, when it lost 5,444 people on Feb 12.

And with hospitals and crematoriums overflowing and the health system overwhelmed, it is widely accepted that the official figures grossly underestimate the real impact of the epidemic, with some experts saying infections and deaths could be five to 10 times higher.

There are fears that the new, highly infectious variant is out of control and that many cases are going unreported because of lack of testing, particularly in the vast countryside.

Data from Thyrocare, a chain of private laboratories, appeared to back up those fears, showing that 63.5 per cent of people tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies on average over the last seven days, up from 45 per cent a month ago.

The data from 25 states included individuals infected in the past, vaccinated, uninfected and those who had not been vaccinated, the company's chief executive Arokiaswamy Velumani tweeted.

Criticism of Prime Minster Narendra Modi has been rising, but Mr M. Govinda Rao, a former member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, said the rate at which the virus was spreading had caught everyone by surprise.

"The unprecedented speed at which the second wave of the pandemic spread completely took the (state) governments as well as the people off guard," Mr Rao told The Hindu.

Daily testing hit a record two million on Tuesday, figures from the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research showed. But it still falls short of India's claimed daily testing capacity of 3.3 million, said Mr Rijo M. John, a professor at the Rajagiri College of Social Sciences in Kochi, Kerala.

He also questioned how useful the results of the tests were.

"Many of these tests are being deployed in urban centres, where cases may have peaked and so it doesn't serve much purpose," Mr John said. "It's time they were diverted to rural areas, but I doubt that is being done."

Mr Modi's approval has fallen to a new low, two surveys showed.

United States data intelligence company Morning Consult placed the prime minister's rating this week at 63 per cent, his lowest since August last year. The big decline happened last month when his net approval dropped 22 points.

A survey among urban Indians by polling agency YouGov this month showed public confidence in the government's handling of the crisis has plummeted since February when the second wave began.

Only 59 per cent of the respondents at the end of last month believed the government is handling the crisis "very" or "somewhat" well, down from 89 per cent a year earlier during the first wave.

India is the world's largest vaccine maker, but criticism has also mounted over its slow vaccination campaign, plagued by a lack of supplies.

The government said about 98 per cent of the population of 1.3 billion remained susceptible to infection.

India halted vaccine exports a month ago after donating or selling more than 66 million doses, and government sources told Reuters it was unlikely to resume major exports of vaccines until at least October as it prioritises domestic needs.

Reuters

"Many of these (Covid-19)

tests are being deployed in urban centres, where cases may have peaked and

so it doesn't serve much purpose. It's time they were diverted to rural areas, but I doubt that is being done."

- Mr Rijo M. John, a professor at the Rajagiri College of Social Sciences in Kochi, Kerala

X

அதற்குள்ளாகவா? இந்தச் செய்திகளையும் படிக்கலாமே!

அதற்குள்ளாகவா?
இந்தச் செய்திகளையும் படிக்கலாமே!