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Second Wave of Coronavirus in India: Impact & Differences

During the second wave of coronavirus in India, the surge in cases has been more rapid and symptoms, more severe

  • 12 Oct 2021
  • min read

The spread of coronavirus during the start of 2020 wreaked havoc in the entire world. More than a 100 million people got infected with the virus, resulting in the death of more than 2 million people. India was no different with more than 10 million cases and around 1 lakh deaths due to coronavirus. In fact, India ranked third among the worst affected countries after the USA and Brazil.

When the coronavirus vaccine in India was launched on 16th January 2021, we all thought the pandemic days are gone and started to breathe freely. However, the joy was short-lived. The disease hit the country even harder in the form of the second wave of coronavirus. As a result, the number of coronavirus cases in India started going up rapidly and this time, the symptoms were even more severe.

As per the official records, as much as 2,16,828 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in India on 15th April 2021. This was the highest number of cases recorded in our country in a single day till date. As a result, many state Governments including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Delhi, and West Bengal announced either complete lockdowns or night curfews.

A negative COVID-19 report obtained within 72 hours was also made mandatory by many state Governments for air travellers from other states of India. In this article, we have explained how this second wave of coronavirus in India has been different and more severe than the first wave. Continue reading.

First wave vs Second wave

The surge in COVID-19 cases during the second wave in India has been more rapid than the first wave during August to October last year. The cases rose at double the pace in the second wave of coronavirus in India. While it took 32 days for cases to rise from 18,000 to 50,000 during the first wave, it took only 17 days for the cases to rise from 18,377 to 50,000 during March 2021.

The total number of cases being recorded in a single day was also much higher during the second wave. During the first wave, the highest number of cases recorded in a single day stood a little over 1 lakh. However, the number of cases in a single day during the second wave had touched the figure of 4 lakh.

India becomes second worst-hit country in the world

After the onset of the second wave of coronavirus, India overtook Brazil to become the second worst-hit country in the world. So, far the country has recorded around 3 crore COVID-19 cases, which keeps it only behind the USA (3.27 crore cases). India surpassed Brazil in terms of total number of COVID-19 cases only in April 2021 after staying at third position for several months.

When it comes to the total caseload, Maharashtra remains the worst-hit state during the second wave as well, followed by Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, and Kerala. Along with the number of active cases, the fatality rate has also gone up during the second wave of coronavirus in India. The death count on 14th April stood at 4.22 lakh.

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What was different during the second wave?

According to the experts, the rapid spread of coronavirus in India during the second wave was mainly because of two reasons – first was the presence of new homegrown variants and second being the absence of lockdown. The laxity in preventive measures coupled with a number of mass gatherings across the country had resulted in a nationwide crisis.

Also, unlike the first wave, the surge in cases was restricted to only a few states during the second wave. According to the Ministry of Health, five of the worst-hit states cumulatively account for 80% of the fresh coronavirus cases in India. These states have started to witness shortage of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, medicines, and even spaces in morgues and crematoriums.

Moreover, unlike the previous wave when the vaccine was in its initial stages of development, India now had two coronavirus vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin. Even though we are far from achieving herd immunity against this disease, the ongoing vaccination drive can make a big difference in the fight against the COVID-19.

Are more young people getting infected?

Since December 2020, those below the age of 45 accounted for almost 60% of the new COVID-19 infection cases in India. In Maharashtra, which was the worst-hit state, people below the age of 40 accounted for approximately 48% of the cases recorded between January to March this year. Whereas, in Karnataka, 47% of those who tested positive between this period were between 15 to 45 years.

However, the death rate due to coronavirus is still the lowest among this age group. Almost 55% of those who died to this virus were aged 60 or above. There are also concerns about the children getting affected at a higher rate during the second wave. Experts believe that this may be because most of the people above the age of 45 have received vaccines by now and hence, may have become immune to the disease.

What’s the road ahead?

Following social distancing and other COVID-19 norms is the only way to keep yourself safe from the virus. The Government is unable to implement strict lockdowns like the last time citing the loss of business and many other reasons. However, as a responsible citizen, you should stay indoors as much as possible to avoid the spread of the virus.

Keep washing your hands or use hand sanitisers frequently. Do not believe in hearsay and do take the vaccine if you’re eligible for it. Also, keep yourself financially secured with a sound health insurance plan so that any unforeseen medical emergency does not affect your bank balance.

ICICI Lombard also provides health insurance plans like Personal Accident Insurance, Family Health Insurance, Health Booster, Arogya Sanjeevani Policy, Corona Kavach Policy which offers people with the much needed financial backup during any medical emergencies


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