India’s daily Covid count has been inching up slowly since the beginning of April amid debate about whether or not the country is on the cusp of a fourth wave of the pandemic.
While the cases have not yet exploded as they did during the Omicron-fueled third wave in January, the overall weekly count has been on a steady rise.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) suggests that the present spurt in numbers is only a “localised blip” and shouldn’t be termed as the fourth wave of the pandemic. But the Centre as well as the states on are already on their toes, bringing back mask mandates and asking people to remain vigilant.
Here’s what you need to know about India‘s Covid situation …
Weekly case count up
Covid-19 infections continued to rise in India for the third week running but, crucially, there was no increase in deaths in the week ending Sunday.
India reported over 22,200 fresh Covid cases in the week (April 25-May 1), up 41% from the previous week’s tally of nearly 15,800.
Delhi, Haryana, UP drive surge
The bulk of the new cases being reported in India is from Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
The National Capital Region (NCR) cities of Delhi, Noida and Gurugram remained the epicentre of fresh Covid cases. All three cities have witnessed a manifold rise in infections in the last couple of weeks.
The states account for nearly 70% of the new cases reported over the last week.
Delhi, which is the worst-hit state in the ongoing surge so far, has been consistently reporting over 1,000 cases every day, the only state to cross the 3-figure mark.
Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, too, have witnessed a marked rise in their daily caseload in the month of April.
While cases in Haryana have risen by almost 10 times in the last month, UP has reported a nearly 4-time growth in numbers.
While fresh cases have dipped in all three states in the last few days, it is too early to ascertain whether the spread of the virus has abated just yet.
Surge in other states
Besides Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, Covid-19 cases have started rising in at least nine major states, including Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Bengal, Rajasthan and Punjab.
Overall, fresh cases have registered a rise in as many as 20 states/Union territories across India, indicating that infections were continuing to spread in the country.
Kerala reported a 10% increase in cases, with over 2,200 reported during the week.
Maharashtra reported over 1,000 cases in the week ending May 1, a slight increase from 996 in the previous week.
Rajasthan saw the most noticeable spike in weekly numbers. It reported 357 cases in the week ending May 1, a 155% rise from the week before that. Similarly, numbers in Madhya Pradesh rose by 132%, going from 74 to 172.
The surge has pushed India’s active caseload past the 19,000-mark up from 16,300 last Sunday.
On the positive side …
While the Covid cases are on the rise, there has not been a corresponding increase in fatalities.
India reported 20 deaths on May 2, the lowest daily rise in nearly two weeks.
In April, the daily death count crossed the 50-mark on just nine occasions, two of which were due to states adding backlog fatalities.
Moreover, the ICMR has said that the current spurt in numbers does not suggest the onset of a fourth wave and should be attributed to “local spikes”.
Samiran Panda, additional director general of ICMR, told IANS last week that the surge has been observed at district levels, hence it cannot be said that the country is moving towards a fourth wave.
“Some surges have been observed at district levels. This is a called a blip … Blips are confined to certain geographical regions of the country,” he said.
(With inputs from agencies)