India began this year with a promise of a better year after harrowing 2020 but this year is proving to be worse than 2020. After the initial euphoria when COVID-19 infections were declining at the beginning of the year, the end of March brought the worst of the COVID-19 crisis in India. Indian Government was caught napping, and citizens and health system were found unprepared as COVID-19 second wave created havoc in the country.
With high Coronavirus cases last month, April became the deadliest month of the COVID-19 pandemic for India. On Friday, April 30 - the last day of April, India reported over 4 lakh fresh Coronavirus cases for the first time, making another global record in terms of the most number of daily infections.
During April, the country recorded 69 lakh new COVID-19 infections, the highest tally for any month in the country since the beginning of the pandemic last year. These numbers are more than the total number of new infections recorded during the worst three months in the first wave last year. During the previous peak of infections last year, a total number of 64 lakh cases were detected in August, September and October.
One Indian Died of COVID-19 Every Minute in April
India also registered a high death toll in April. The country saw 48,768 deaths which were the highest for any month since the beginning of the pandemic. In April, the death toll was more than put together the five months from November to March where India just reported 40,853 fatalities.
Among the states, Maharashtra (14,717), Delhi (5,523), Chhattisgarh (4,606) and Uttar Pradesh (4,054) have recorded the highest number of Covid-19 deaths during April, according to COVID19India.
Maharashtra accounted for 20.7 per cent of total deaths in the state in April, while the National Captial accounted for 31 per cent of total deaths in April.
India's COVID-19 Death Toll is Undercounted
Although these are just official figures, India's actual number of deaths during April could be much higher because of massive fatality underreporting. Health experts believe that the real number could be 30 times higher.
“Last year we estimated that only one in about 30 infections were being caught by testing, so the reported cases are a serious underestimate of true infections. This time, the mortality figures are probably serious underestimates, and what we're seeing on the ground is many more deaths, than what has been officially reported," Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in New Delhi told CNN.
The surge in daily infection tally during April also explains why our hospitals are overflowing with sick and our healthcare infrastructure is overwhelmed with patients.
Higher Positivity Rate in April
In April, India’s positivity rate also kept on increasing at a fast pace. Positivity rate is a measure of the spread of the disease in the community. A more widespread disease would lead to a higher positivity rate in the tests. The daily positivity rate at the start of the month (April 1) was 7.3 per cent which jumped to 20.7 per cent at the end of the month (April 30). The previous record for the highest daily positivity rate was lodged on July 19, 2020, when it touched 15.7 per cent, and the old record for the weekly positivity rate was 12.5 per cent for the week ending July 15.
Maharashtra which has always recorded a very high positivity rate for most of the pandemic trended in 20 per cent during the entire month of April. However, it was other states that showed a worrying trend. Delhi’s daily test positivity ratio jumped from 3.6 per cent to 32 per cent in just 30 days, while Goa, a tiny coastal state, with a population of around 16 lakh, showed an unprecedented surge in test positivity rate. It reported an over 50 per cent positivity rate on April 29.
Second Wave to Peak in May-June
The world has been suffering for more than a year from the pandemic and in India, things have taken a turn for the worst now. It has been a month since the second wave of COVID-19 hit the country but predictions show that India’s Covid nightmare might continue for more than a month.
According to a research report by the State Bank of India (SBI), India's second COVID-19 wave may peak in the third week of May. Scientists working on a mathematical model to chart the trajectory of COVID-19 cases have noted peak of active caseload could touch around 40 lakh between May 14-18.
India recorded over 3.57 lakh new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours ending 8 am Tuesday, taking the total infections past the 2 crore mark. India currently has over 24 lakh active cases.