On March 25, 2021, health workers inject a dose of COVID-19 vaccine in a clinic in Bhopal, India.
STR | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images
Covid-19 cases in India have risen again, and the country’s wealthiest states have also been hit hard.
CNBC calculations on government data show that Maharashtra (the seat of India’s financial capital, Mumbai) has reported more than 248,000 new cases in just seven days.
The country’s second most populous country accounted for 57% of all cases reported in India during the same period. Since mid-February, infection cases have been increasing, but the fatality rate is still relatively low.
According to a daily update by the Indian Ministry of Health on Thursday, there are currently more than 580,000 active cases in India, accounting for approximately 4.78% of all positive cases. The five states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Punjab account for 78.9% of all active cases in India, most of which are in the western state of Maharashtra .
The government of Maharashtra imposed a curfew last Sunday and banned all gatherings, including political and religious gatherings. It also executed cover-up commands.
Although the authorities are debating further restrictions to limit the spread of the virus, local media reported that a total blockade in the state (similar to last year̵
Billionaire businessman Anand Mahindra of the Mumbai-based conglomerate Mahindra Group said on Twitter this week that the blockade would harm “the poor, migrant workers and small businesses”. Instead, he urged the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to focus on building hospitals and medical infrastructure and avoid Covid-related deaths.
Limited economic impact
Citi economists said in a report this week that the economic impact of India’s second wave of coronavirus infections appears to have been localized.
Economists Samiran Chakraborty and Baqar M Zaidi said: “The geographical nature of the spread of Covid and the low appetite among policy makers will make the lock-in for 2021 The scope of lockdown is more localized and relaxed.” They pointed out that more than half of active Covid cases are concentrated in 10 cities, of which 8 are in Maharashtra..
Chakraborty and Zaidi stated that these 10 cities accounted for only 10% to 12% of India’s GDP.
They said: “Therefore, the local blockade of these cities is unlikely to cause a large-scale interruption of the country’s economic activities.” The losses suffered due to the second Covid wave may be even greater.
The nationwide blockade last year plunged India into a technological recession and severely affected small business owners and workers in the informal sector. In the first wave, the infection rate peaked around September.
Radhika Rao, an Indian economist at DBS Group in Singapore, pointed out that India is also preparing for upcoming state elections and regional celebrations, which tend to attract large numbers of people to gather there. She said that enhanced preventive measures are needed to slow the spread of the virus.
She said in a recent report that the ongoing vaccination campaign can act as a speed reducer to slow the rate of disease outbreaks.
India launched one of the world’s largest perfumes A mass vaccination campaign was carried out in January. The initial goal was to vaccinate about 300 million people, including front-line workers, elderly residents and people in good health.
Starting Thursday, India will allow people over 45 to take Covid shots regardless of their health. Last week, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that he plans to expand the age range to include more people.
Data from the Ministry of Health on Thursday showed that as of 7 am local time, India had received more than 65 million doses of vaccine.
According to the latest report from the Observer Research Foundation, a think tank based in New Delhi, at the current rate, it may take the South Asian country 2.4 years to vaccinate 75% of its population. Generally, this is the minimum proportion of the population that needs to be vaccinated to achieve population immunization, in which case the disease can no longer spread widely in the community.
Like most countries, India is also dealing with vaccine skepticism and a lot of misinformation, which may slow down New Delhi’s vaccination efforts.
India’s Health Minister Rajesh Bhushan this week urged people over 45 to get vaccinated and said at a media briefing that “vaccination hesitation must continue.” He also reportedly told the states to strengthen easing immediately. Preventive measures against the coronavirus to avoid overwhelming the health care system due to the surge in infections.
Overall, since January last year, India has reported more than 12.2 million infections and more than 162,900 deaths. Most patients have recovered from the disease.