When the second wave of Covid-19 turned a corner in early May, the cases fell almost as quickly as they had surged before the peak.
Back then, experts were already warning about a possible third wave of the pandemic, with some predicting it may begin as early as August.
It now seems that India is rather witnessing a prolonged second wave of the pandemic.
India’s thick ‘Covid tail’
India’s daily Covid cases in the last one month have hovered near the 40,000-mark after a steady decline in June.
The sustained addition of 40,000 infections to the daily caseload has resulted in a thick tail-like graph of the second wave.
Several experts as well as the government believe the second wave of the pandemic is still not over.
While fresh cases are less than 10% of what they were during the peak in May, India is still reporting more daily new cases than every other country in the world except the US.
Besides, as many as 46 districts in the country are reporting a test positivity rate higher than 10%, according to geographicinsights.iq.
Glimmer of hope?
India’s Covid cases may not be falling as quickly as desired, but they are not rising either.
In fact, a comparison of testing data and reported infections shows that average weekly cases have come down slightly in the last week despite an increase in testing.
In the last 7 days (August 8-14), India reported just over 37,000 daily cases on average and conducted over 19 lakh daily tests. This is almost 1,300 cases fewer than five weeks ago with similar testing patterns.
If this trend holds, i.e., the cases continue to decline without a significant dip in testing, the second wave may finally dissipate soon.
Kerala India’s Achilles heel
While it was Maharashtra that dominated India’s surge to unprecedented Covid numbers during the peak of the second wave, it’s Kerala that is now prolonging the nation’s pandemic woes.
The southern state has been reporting nearly 20,000 infections on a daily basis for nearly a month.
In the last seven days, it accounted for 53% of India’s total caseload, up from 51% in the prior week.
In a more worrying trend, 11 out of the 14 districts in the state have been reporting a test positivity rate higher than 10%. The World Health Organization recommends that it should be under 5%.
This indicates the virus is still quite active in the state.
Moreover, if we take Kerala out of the equation, India would be reporting just over 18,000 cases daily.
Thus, Kerala is clearly playing spoilsport in India’s fightback against the second wave.