India overtook Brazil as the second country with the most total COVID-19 cases, reaching 13.5 million after a new daily record of almost 169,000 new infections, triggering a second wave that only sees an exit with the promotion of a massive vaccination campaign.
In a short time, the Asian nation has seen cases skyrocket from the less than 9,000 daily registered at the beginning of February, to the 168,912 confirmed today by the Indian Ministry of Health, the highest registered in the country so far.
These data indicate that the number of people infected in a single day is 65 percent higher than last September, when after six months of pandemic, the nation recorded its worst moment with a peak of almost 100,000 cases in 24 hours.
Despite the experience of the first wave, some specialists believe that this time the staffing challenges have tripled, Rajib Dasgupta, president of the Center for Social Medicine and Community Health at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, told Efe.
“Last year a response was organized from all health and non-health personnel from various departments, now these personnel have returned to their departments when all services resumed,” he explained.
“All this has left relatively fewer human resources available for key epidemiological services: testing, monitoring and treatment. It is likely to affect when trying to control rapid transmission,” the doctor considered.
The rapid spread of the virus occurs as authorities try to accelerate their massive vaccination campaign, targeting those over 45, with the aim of preventing deaths and serious cases of the disease.
The country surpassed a first milestone on Saturday with the administration of more than 100 million doses in 85 days of vaccination, following several government initiatives to boost the campaign, despite the fact that some Indian regions have reported shortages of vials.
India manufactures two antidotes against COVID: Covishield, from the British-Swedish laboratory AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, which is produced thanks to an agreement with the Serum Institute of India (SII); and the indigenous Covaxin, from the Indian laboratory Bharat Biotech.
The SII, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, indicated last week that although it has destined some 100 million vaccines for India, and its production capacity is at the limit, this is still insufficient for local demand.