Three years since outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in India, country records 66 new infections
New Delhi, Jan. 31 (PTI): India saw a single-day rise of 66 coronavirus infections and active cases declined to 1,755 on Tuesday, three years after the first case was reported in Kerala and consequent waves of the pandemic left people scrambling for hospital beds and literally gasping for breath.
Till now, the coronavirus disease has claimed 5,30,740 lives and infected 4.46 crore (4,46,82,785) people, according to the Union health ministry.
The waves in 2020 and 2021, particularly those fuelled by the Delta and the Omicron variants, wreaked havoc on the health system and people’s livelihoods and affected businesses.
Dr. Suranjit Chatterjee, a senior consultant at Apollo hospital in Delhi, and a Covid survivor, said that the situation has become much better now, compared to the bad phase the country saw in 2020 and the nightmare in 2021.
“Cases have come down significantly in India, and its been three years since the first case was reported in the country in Kerala. People are relaxed right now, but influenza is still spreading very fast in India and in other countries. Thankfully, number of Covid cases is minimum,” he told PTI.
On Tuesday, the ministry said the daily positivity rate has been recorded at 0.05 per cent while the weekly positivity stands at 0.07 per cent.
The active cases now comprise 0.01 per cent of the total infections, while the national recovery rate has increased to 98.81 per cent, according to the health ministry’s website.
The first coronavirus case globally was reported in China’s Wuhan Province in December 19 and India had recorded its first case on January 30, 2020, when a medical student, who had returned to Thrissur from Wuhan, tested positive.
The deadly virus that baffled doctors, scientists and common people alike in the initial year reared its ugly head in 2021 when the Delta variant hit the country.
Delhi was one of the worst-hit cities, particularly during the deadly second wave when the death toll hit through the roofs.
The national capital has battled three waves of COVID-19, with the Delta variant-driven wave in April-May 2021 being the deadliest.
The two months saw hospitals and family members of patients scrambling for oxygen and doctors burdened beyond capacity.
The third wave, fuelled by the Omicron variant, saw the number of daily COVID-19 cases in Delhi touch a record high of 28,867 on January 13 last year.
The city had recorded a positivity rate of 30.6 per cent on January 14 last year, the highest so far.
Delhi’s first COVID-19 case was reported on March 2 when businessman Rohit Datta, a resident of Mayur Vihar in east Delhi, who lives with his wife, two children and mother, was diagnosed with the infection.
Despite a fall in cases, he has often made an appeal to the masses to “not lower their guard” by getting into a casual mode, and adhere to all safety norms.
“People are travelling freely now, restrictions lifted largely and people not feeling suspicions to socialise and interact physically with others. But, the first two year were deadly, so many lives lost, people suffered unimaginably. But, it seems the pandemic may not rear its ugly head again,” he said.
According to data shared by the ministry, the number of people who have recuperated from the disease in the country has increased to 4,41,50,289, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.19 per cent.
The ministry’s website shows that 220.48 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the country so far.
Dr. Chatterjee said vaccination and infection-induced immunity has also boosted confidence of people, to go out, socialise and travel.
The vaccination drive against the disease had started across the country on January 16.