ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Covid-19 Progression

Waiting for the Eureka Moment

Countries across the world are relying on trial-and-error interventions to arrest the COVID-19 pandemic. But, even as health systems are close to breaking down and economies are flailing while underprivileged citizens are battling unprecedented social and financial catastrophes, most governments are failing to provide appropriate social security and relief.

Aspike in COVID-19 cases and deaths seems to be a continuum across the world. A number of countries have seen the flattening of the curve at various points across the nearly eight to nine months of the pandemic’s prevalence, but no sooner does that happen then a new spike emerges. Globally, the trajectory is upward and we see new spikes each week, though the increase in the number of deaths seems to be slowing down. Countries like Japan, New Zealand and Taiwan, which had seen flattening from May 2020 onwards, have seen increases from August. Vietnam, Cambodia and Mongolia seemed to have controlled it best, with the latter two not reporting a single death. For most other countries, however, the daily cases across the nine months have shown multiple spikes, every month or every other month, with August and September 2020 being the worst. This has brought in a second or third wave in many countries. Clearly, the end of the COVID-19 virus attack seems to be still far away.

The global tally as on 18 September 2020 stands at over 30 million cases, with over 22 million or 73% having recovered and 0.95 million or 3.1% succumbing to the virus. Globally, cases are increasing rapidly, with each day recording a new daily peak of cases, indicating that the peak is still to be realised. Europe is witnessing a third wave as are many other countries. In India’s case, the situation is even more alarming, with daily cases rising rapidly as well as spreading into the hinterland, and over the last month or so, the country has moved from the fourth position globally in terms of number of cases to second and is rapidly closing in on the United States (US), which is presently leading with the total number of cases but showing a declining trend. So, given the situation of the virus trajectory and behaviour in the last eight months, it is difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel in the next few months. Clearly, it is difficult to come up with any hypotheses of the prognosis and trajectory of COVID-19. In Table 1, a few key ratios for some selected countries are indicated. These countries are a sample of low, medium and high prevalence countries, and some of them are those that are regarded as having been more successful in containing the spread of the virus. These ratios are cases per million population, which tells us the spread of the virus in the country, deaths per 1,000 detected cases, which reveals the case fatality rate at a point of time, the highest daily cases and the date it was achieved. This indicates the time of the highest peak so far and tells us the progress since then. The cases that occurred on 12 or 13 September 2020 are the reference point for this article and the percent cases active to total cases on 12 or 13 September, which reveals how effectively the recoveries are happening, and tests per million and test positivity rate which tells us the intensity of efforts in the case detection.

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Updated On : 24th Dec, 2020
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