Virtually every country in the world has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even those we call ‘developed countries’ such as the United States and Italy couldn’t escape its effects, forcing them to close their borders and go into lockdowns and quarantines.
However, for the ‘developing countries,’ the effects of the pandemic are becoming worse by the minute. An example of this is the ongoing surge in India— in the past week, the country has been hitting at least 300,000 new COVID-19 cases every day. (Read: How Long Does a Pandemic Usually Last?)
Because of this, the South Asian country has become the center of attention in the news, and received an outpour of concern globally. Fundraisers have also been started in the hopes that India can overcome the second wave of the coronavirus.
My Pope Philippines lists three facts about the COVID-19 surge in India that you need to know.
#1: Cases in India Are Now at an All-Time Global High
Previously, the US held the record high cases for a single day at 290,000 cases reported. But in the past week, India has broken that record multiple times. For six days in a row— until yesterday, April 27— their daily numbers breached the 300,000 mark, with the highest being over 379,000 in just one day.
The hardest stricken area is India’s capital New Delhi, and with this second wave of infections, the country now accounts for 1 in 3 cases in the world.
#2: India Has Fully Vaccinated Only 2% Of Their Population
India’s current population is at around 1,391,123,637, making them the second most populated country in the world next to China; and this has affected their COVID-19 response drastically.
Despite being home to the largest vaccine producer in the world— being able to produce around 60% of the world’s vaccine supply— India has a long way to go before achieving herd immunity. (Read: What Is ‘Herd Immunity’ and How Can It Beat the Pandemic?)
According to data, only 23,000,000 individuals have been fully vaccinated (given two doses) since January 16, which only accounts for 1.7% of the country’s total population. At this pace, India is looking at eight to nine years before vaccinating 70% of its population for herd immunity.
#3: A New COVID-19 Variant Was Found in India
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently confirmed a new ‘variant of interest‘ that was first found in India. The variant, called B.1.617 variant, concerns health experts as it might be a contributing factor to the sudden surge in cases in India. It is also said to be a ‘double mutant’ — meaning two mutations are present in the same virus.
Researchers and health experts are currently looking at whether or not it is more infectious or if it affects vaccine efficacy.