The number of cases recorded in India went from a few cases in one day, to eventually picking pace with thousands of cases being reported in just 24 hours. On March 3, 2020, only three cases were reported in one day and this went up to around 350 cases in April first week to more than 2,500 cases in a day come May, 2020. Achieving the daily peak, the country saw 97,894 cases on September 16. For a week, the number of cases exceeded 90,000 thus marking the worst phase of Coronavirus transmission in the country. A country which has reported these many cases is now witnessing a drastic decline in the number of new cases being reported.
Recently, the health ministry in India has said that the decline in cases can be attributed to a few factors like robust testing and contact tracing effort. However, the reason cannot completely explain the drastic fall in cases. For a few days now there has been a quick turnaround, India has only been reporting cases less than 10,000 a day. To be sure, vaccination only started not a month ago and that is also only for healthcare and frontline workers. The vaccination administration cannot bring such a change in the country’s COVID-19 caseload.
Many reports by experts have indicated that imposition of strict mask mandates in the country can be a reason for lower cases. In a report by NPR, Jishnu Das, a health economist at Georgetown University noted that reduction in testing or cases not being reported is not the case. But masks and strict measures could have played a role. Many cities in India start collecting fines from people if found without a face mask.
Apart from this, many researchers in scientific articles have claimed that warm and wet climates can result in reduction in spread of Coronavirus transmission. Some studies have also pointed out the droplets of the virus that are found suspended in air are likely to stay afloat longer in air when the air is cold and dry. However, in the case of India, this may or may not be true as many places have witnessed extreme cold climates with a cold wave in many northern states.
Some experts have also suggested that given India is prone to many diseases like malaria, dengue fever, cholera, typhoid and hepatitis, the immunity among people is on a higher side. Not to forget, the population in India is quite young. Only 6 per cent of Indians belong to the category of 65-years and above and more than half of Indians are under 25 years of age. Younger ones are less likely to die of the deadly infection or more prone to being asymptomatic if infected.
Another important aspect in Indian COVID story is that at a time when other countries managed to contain the spread of the Coronavirus before the second wave hit, India hit the peak at that point. Therefore, it is only gradual that after hitting peak (after six months of outbreak), the cases are now more on the declining side.
However, whatever the reason may be for declining cases, it is to note that the outbreak is not over in India and people have to remain more cautious despite the introduction of vaccines. The Indian government has also urged people to not let their guards down and keep following the necessary precautions.