As we approach the end of the fourth phase of the lockdown, there has been significant rise in COVID-19 cases in India. 

And, if the situation continues to be the same, according to National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), there are chances that at least 50% of India’s population could be infected by December.

Dr V Ravi, Head of Neurovirology, National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) and nodal officer in the Karnataka Health Task Force for COVID-19 says:

The numbers will go up from June onwards after Lockdown 4.0 ends on May 31, and there will be community spread. By December-end, half of India’s population is likely to be infected with the virus.

He further states that 90% of the population will not even be aware of the fact that they are infected and only 5-10% would require intensive care. He says:

The good news is that 90 per cent of them will not even know that they have got the infection. It’s only 5-10 per cent of cases that will have to be treated with high-flow oxygen and only 5 per cent would require ventilator support. 

Dr. Ravi cautions states to fully gear up with medical infrastructure to handle the increase in cases, especially those cases that will require intensive medical care and treatment.

In order to prepare the states to handle spike in cases, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has already asked all states to have at least two COVID-19 testing laboratories in each district. 

In fact, Karnataka on Wednesday, became the first state in the country to reach the target of 60 laboratories. Dr Ravi said:

Today, we have given approval for a Covid-19 testing laboratory at Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), Bengaluru, and with that we now have 60 laboratories, which will map up for the 30 districts in the state. 

Currently, the mortality rate in the country is ranged between 3-4% and this will only come down once the vaccine is made available by March next year.

But, until then, Dr Ravi stresses on the importance of taking precautions. He says:

People will learn to live with COVID-19, with all necessary precautions and preventive measures. The novel coronavirus is not as deadly as Ebola, MERS and SARS. 

Seems like we have to start adjusting to the ‘new normal’.