The normalcy is returning as everything is opening in phased manners. The cinema halls being the latest. But the number of cases has fallen sharply. On the other hand, Italy and France are witnessing the second wave of infections and imposing restrictions slowly.
But why are the numbers coming down in India after a steep rise of reporting more than 90,000 cases a day in September? Even though travel restrictions have eased, other activities have resumed and the rate of testing has remained constant, the number of cases has fallen. However, the reasons for this trend are not known yet.
A government-appointed panel including professors from IITs and scientists revealed that India is now past its coronavirus peak. From a peak of 97,000-plus cases in September, India is now staggering around 60,000-plus cases a day.
Prof Manindra Agrawal, a member of the committee, told The Indian Express:
A recent case study of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu published in the journal Science a few weeks ago showed that almost 70 per cent of infected people were not passing the disease to others. The virus was spreading only through a small set of people who are referred to as super-spreaders.
For the first time, the central government has accepted community transmission since the pandemic started. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said:
In different pockets across various states...community transmission is expected to occur.
But he clarified that community transmission isn’t a country-wide phenomenon but limited to states like West Bengal.
Prof Gagandeep Kang, an expert on infectious diseases and professor at Christian Medical College, Vellore told The Indian Express:
Everything about the transmission of the virus is dependent on the nature and length of our interactions with other people. And there is a lot that we either do not understand, or are unable to analyse because of lack of adequate data. But this decline in numbers in the last one month is not inexplicable. It can be explained if we have good data and information.
Despite the decline in cases, Niti Aayog member V K Paul warned that a second wave of Covid-19 infections could be a possibility in winters, looking at the trends in Europe where winters have set in.
Therefore, precautionary measures are still advised to be maintained. Paul also said that 90% of the people still remain susceptible to novel coronavirus.
The government-appointed committee also said that the pandemic can be brought under control with minimum active symptomatic infections by next year February-end if all safety protocols are sincerely followed.