Though the number of Covid-19 cases has been mounting rapidly across the country, nearing the 15-lakh-mark, there are, however, certain bright spots that provide hope. Low fatality and high recovery rate constitute the positive development amidst a gloomy mood. Hope stems from the fact that hordes of patients are getting away with mild symptoms and even some octogenarians are defeating the insidious contagion. At nearly 2.25%, India’s death rate, which has witnessed a continuous fall, is much lower than the global average of 4%. And, with an increasing number of patients recuperating every day, the recovery rate has touched 64% now. The health infrastructure is being ramped up at a rapid pace to deal with the pandemic while there is a greater public awareness about preventive measures like wearing masks, maintaining physical distance and hand hygiene. Even as thousands of men, women and children are catching the contagion in India, the fear of the virus has considerably waned. This is largely attributed to the significant downward curve in the Covid fatality rate as also the high recoveries. India’s Rt value (rate of infection) has remained at a steady 1.17 since last week. These positives are a result of the cumulative efforts to preempt, cure and contain the spread of the disease. The test-track-treat strategy and precautionary measures such as physical distancing have put the fight against the pandemic on the right track. A ramping up of these measures is necessary to prevent the health infrastructure from being overwhelmed by the rising caseload.
At this stage of the spread, re-imposition of lockdown will be a futile exercise as it will only disrupt the economy further and destroy livelihoods. The pandemic has created new financial stresses that will weigh on India’s growth potential for years. Along with expanding the hospital facilities to tackle the caseload, the governments must ensure that the economy is put back on the track. As the entire world is keenly watching the developments on the vaccine front, India has a huge opportunity to be the market leader. Irrespective of how the vaccine candidates developed by Indian companies eventually perform, India would remain a central player, both as one of the biggest manufacturers of vaccines in the world and also one of the biggest markets as it controls 60% of the global supply of all kinds of vaccines. Pune-based Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, has firmed up an agreement to produce Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University in association with pharma giant AstraZeneca. The Oxford vaccine has generated a lot of enthusiasm among the scientific community. The vaccine is currently undergoing phase III trials and is expected to hit the market by the year-end.
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