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‘Covid-19 cases surge in Europe, but India likely to have hit a sweet spot’

Rutam V Vora | | | Updated on: Nov 22, 2021
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But the pandemic isn’t over yet, says IIM-A faculty Chinmay Tumbe

India may have hit a sweet spot in the pandemic curve with daily cases going below the 10,000-mark, accompanied by the opening up of economic, social and academic activities. But the pandemic is far from over, cautioned observers, pointing to ground realities and rising cases elsewhere in the world.

All India data show India reported 8,488 new cases on November 21, the lowest since the 8,579 reported on February 1. Notably, a couple of months later, in April, India had slipped into the worst wave of infections with daily cases rising to the peak of 4.12 lakh cases on May 6.

Over the last several days, however, new cases have been decreasing. But in stark contrast are the rising daily cases in the US and Europe, with some countries intensifying Covid restrictions and others such as Austria going into a lockdown. This is despite a widespread vaccination coverage in the developed world.

“Right now we are in the sweet spot, because of the vaccination and natural exposure (to the virus). But the trend in other countries suggest that the pandemic is far from over yet, including in India,” said Chinmay Tumbe, faculty, Economics, at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), told BusinessLine.

A better position

Tumbe, who has authored a book, The Age of Pandemics – 1817-1920 – And How they Shaped India and the World , indicated that India may be at a better position now because of the vaccination and the exposure to the virus during the second wave. But the pandemic, based on the past experiences of the pandemics, isn’t yet over.

“During the months of January, February and March there was a strange sense of hubris and we lost the plot (of precautions). The idea that the pandemic is over became so entrenched. This was very similar to what we are in today. But there is nothing in the data that suggests that the pandemic is over,” said Tumbe cautioning against celebrating the end of the pandemic. “It may be slightly less intense in terms of deaths. The vaccination has broken the link between cases and deaths. But the cases are rising as we see elsewhere in the world,” he added.

The acquired immunity against Covid, either due to natural exposure or through vaccination, may wear out in a few months. And there may be a rising trend in the new cases among the vaccinated or infected, he cautioned.

Published on November 23, 2021

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