COVID-19 graph has plateaued but severe 2nd peak possible in winter, unless people mask up: Govt

New Delhi, October 13

The government on Tuesday said India’s COVID-19 graph had plateaued but warned against a more severe second wave in winters than the first one if people became lax and disregarded COVID appropriate behaviour.

India’s recoveries have surged to 86.78 per cent of total COVID cases and active cases remain below nine lakh for the fifth day, besides daily and cumulative positivity rate falling in spite of high testing in signs of disease stabilisation.

Cumulative positivity rate is now 8.07 per cent while daily positivity rate is even lower at 5.16 per cent.

Positivity has been reducing even when India is testing around 11 lakh samples daily.

Active cases have declined on a week on week basis from 92,380 in the week between September 9 to 13 to 70,114 in the latest week ending October 13.

“There are consistent trends of decline in active cases, positivity rate and rise in recoveries,” Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.

Member Health NITI Aayog VK Paul, however, warned against laxity and said the 1918 pandemic had caused greater havoc in winters.

“Respiratory viruses tend to become more virulent in winters and the US and Europe are already witnessing a second peak and many nations are again ordering lockdowns. A second COVID peak is plausible in winters and can be more severe unless people wear masks, keep six feet distance and maintain face and hand hygiene. Masks alone can reduce transmission between 36 to 50 per cent and masks have to be worn properly with nose and mouth covered. People must avoid festive gatherings which can prove to be super spreader events,” Paul said seeking people to launch an unprecedented community campaign against COVID-19.

The government has already launched its COVID behaviour campaign with a target to reach 90 crore people between now and next March through the festive season.

“An unprecedented campaign is needed for this unprecedented challenge of COVID in winters and in festivals. We have to avoid a second peak,” Paul said noting that youngsters had become overconfident and were spreading the virus thinking they are fit and fine.

Mortality data for COVID however shows 35 per cent of all deaths in people aged 45 to 60 years proving that the younger population is not immune to the virus.

Overall case fatality rate in India is 1.53 per cent but the same is a whopping 17.9 per cent in people with do morbidities.

More than half of all deaths have happened in 60 plus people and 10 per cent in 26 to 44 year olds.

Mortality proportion in those below 17 years and 18 to 25 years is one per cent.

India today saw 55,342 fresh infections in 24 hours, the lowest daily cases in two months since August 18.

Total cases are 71.75 lakh and total recoveries are 62,27,295. Daily new recoveries have been 77,760.

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