Amid rising coronavirus COVID-19 cases in India, a government appointed committee of experts on COVID-19 pandemic has warned that any laxity during festivals or winter will lead to an increase of 26 lakh coronavirus cases within a month.
The 10-member government committee is led by Niti Aayog member VK Paul. The committee arrived at the 26 lakh figure after conducting a study on ‘Progression of the Covid-19 Pandemic in India: Prognosis and Lockdown Impacts’, based on a mathematical model to map the progression of the deadly virus in the country.
It can be as much as “up to 26 lakh cases within a month”, the panel said, adding that a second wave of coronavirus may hit India in winter as cooler temperatures help in the survival of respiratory viruses.
The committee also remarked that the upcoming festive season may increase susceptibility to COVID-19 infection.
“In India, the new coronavirus cases and number of deaths have declined in the last three weeks and the pandemic has stabilised in most of the states…. However, there are five States (Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal) and 3-4 Union Territories (UTs), where there is still a rising trend,” Dr. Paul said.
“We cannot rule out (a second coronavirus wave this winter in India). Things can happen and we are still learning about the virus,” he noted.
Dr Paul asserted that people must follow social distancing during festival season and winter. “Because of the winter season, some increase in pollution in north India as well as festival season, we have to be very careful… coming months are a challenge. One would be worried that we could lose the gains that we have made. If we don’t take precaution, if we are not careful, because we are susceptible there can be escalation. God forbid, but we can avoid it…. This is in our hand, whether India has another wave or not is very much in our own hand,” he reamrked.