India’s outbreak

India’s outbreak
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IslamNews – India has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, reporting a record of 131,968 new cases in the last 24 hours as the virus spins out of control. Deaths are rising, hospitals are quickly filling up and the country’s vaccination campaign is perilously behind schedule.

The surge in cases is a sharp U-turn for the country, which initially enacted one of the world’s strictest lockdowns when the virus arrived last year and had managed to keep per capita cases relatively low. Public health experts even wondered whether India might have some innate resistance to the virus, perhaps related to its warmer climate or younger population.

Experts say complacency and government missteps are to blame for the recent surge.

After cases dropped in December, many Indians shed masks and resumed normal life. Leaders also began acting as if the problem were solved, allowing large Hindu religious festivals and political rallies.

The variants of the virus may have also played a role, but the country doesn’t do enough genetic sequencing to know for sure. India’s sluggish vaccination drive has also been dogged by complacency and public skepticism. If inoculations don’t quicken, experts say it will take India more than two years to inoculate 70 percent of its population.

The surge in India is a troubling development for the broader pandemic. The sheer number of new infections creates a breeding ground for possible new variants that could be resistant to vaccines, or better able to reinfect people who have already had the virus. India is also a large producer of vaccines, and the Serum Institute of India has said that practically all of its daily production of about two million doses will over the next two months go to the government, delaying commitments to other countries.

“India’s size is going to dominate the global numbers — how the world performs on Covid is going to be very dependent on how India performs on Covid,” said Dr. Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in Washington. “If it is not over in India, it is not really over in the world.”

Source: The New York Tims

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