Prudent Approach towards the Downward Trajectory of Second Wave

Synopsis:

India has witnessed a decline in Covid-19 cases since the last month, thereby indicating a downward trajectory of the second wave. It presents an opportunity to effectively prepare for the upcoming third wave through universal vaccination and accommodative reforms.

Background:
  • The second wave of pandemic left a more brutal impact on India than the first wave, with cases touching the 4 lakh/day mark. Rural India was hurt significantly and many districts reported higher fatality rates than the national average.
  • However, the cumulative Covid-19 cases have now declined by 72 % from the peak in May. 
Understanding the Downward Trajectory of Second Wave:
  • The decline is mainly caused by a decrease in urban cases while the rural cases are still on the rise as shown by the 14-day moving average of the top 20 districts. 
  • The percentage of daily new cases from rural areas is still at 52.8 percent. A high prevalence of cases in the rural area indicates that:
    • The GDP loss due to the current wave will be much lower than that in the first wave. This is because these rural districts account for a lower share of economic activity.
  • There is also a subtle change in India’s vaccination policy. Now India is prioritising people receiving the first dose.
    • This would bring down the magnitude of serious cases in the country and ensure better preparation for the 3rd wave.

Read Also :-Measures to Control the Covid-19 Second Wave

Suggestions to capitalise the downward Trajectory of Second Wave:
  • The government should step up the vaccination drive as currently, around 16% of people have received the first dose and only 3% have been fully vaccinated. For the US, these numbers are 89.4 and 44.1 respectively.
    • India must opt for an advanced procurement strategy like that adopted by developed nations to inoculate its remaining population, especially the 12-17 age bracket.
    • There should be a centralised vaccine procurement along with a centralised pricing strategy.
  • The rollout of a compassionate fiscal policy at both the central and state levels is also desired for reducing the stress of the common man and businesses. This would include rationalisation of fuel prices, tax holidays, electricity rebates for MSMEs etc.
  • There should be prudent adoption of the best administrative practices at state and local level. The Centre should now collect and collate such systems and make them available to state governments to strengthen the health infrastructure. This includes:
    • Mumbai model” of oxygen distribution under the able administrator, Iqbal Chahal.
    • Ernakulam’s war room model” that oversees the entire city and allows for resources to be shifted swiftly between hotspots. 
    • Telephone-based triaging systems of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
      • Triage systems are methods for systematic prioritizing of patients’ treatment according to how urgent they need care.
  • The operations of local bodies should be digitalised to ensure better resource allocation and greater accountability.

Source: The Indian Express 

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