A 20 year old female was rushed to the Emergency Department in General Hospital of Thrissur, Kerala on January 27, 2020 after she complained of a dry cough and sore throat. While the symptoms did not seem emergency-like, she had travelled from Wuhan, China (birthplace of the novel Coronavirus) to Kerala. The news of viral infection that was just heard in international news, became a reality for India that day. The Indian Journal of Medical Research noted that the woman was not in touch with any positive person and she remained asymptomatic for a couple of days after she had reached Kerala.
Soon after, cases started to rise, and one case became two, three and so on. While Kerala was the only state initially to report Coronavirus cases, the COVID-19 scare seeped more and more into people after the national capital reported its first case on March 2 last year. The security at airports for those coming from abroad, especially China, had already become stringent by the end of February 2020. Soon, many cases for infection started to surface across India. From imposing many restrictions on public places and urging people to stay indoors, on March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of Coronavirus.
One year down, the toll of Coronavirus cases in India has exceeded 10.7 million. More than 1.5 lakh people have succumbed to the deadly infection, not to forget loss of livelihoods and massive economy.
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. According to the statistics issued by the government on a daily basis, India’s caseload could be seen as a bell-curve with the peak being well defined. On March 3, 2020, only three cases were reported in one day and this went up to around 350 cases in April first week. It was just a matter of one month, India reported more than 2,500 cases in a day. 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. No other country in the world has recorded these many cases in a single day.
Some European countries recorded not more than 80,000 single day cases in November-December last year at a time when the second COVID-19 wave had hit these countries. India during this time started recording cases between 30,000-45,000. Now, the new cases have simmered to 12,000 and 14,000.
India recorded its first death on the back of Coronavirus infection on March 12 last year. A 76-year-old man from Kalaburgi in Karnataka had died after suffering from COVID-19 infection. Since May last year, daily deaths also started to increase and the highest number of deaths was recorded on September 15 when 1,290 people died on the same day due to the viral infection. While the deaths reported were mainly above 1,000 in a single day, now a decline in this number can be seen. These days, the COVID-19 related everyday death toll is mostly below 150.
While more than 1.5 lakh people have died because of the Coronavirus pandemic, the current case fatality ratio in the country 1.44. This ratio is below the global average of 2.15, according to the official data.
COVID-19 vaccination arrives
After almost a year of battling the pandemic, vaccines have been introduced in India and the country started the largest vaccination drive on January 16, 2021. However, this does not mean that the problem is over. While in terms of transmissions and number of cases, the worst has surely passed, it will take time for new COVID-19 cases to subdue completely.