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Why is COVID-19 spiking in India?

A look at why India is experiencing its second wave of the novel coronavirus

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Beds lie inside an indoor stadium converted into COVID-19 treatment center in India, which became the fourth nation to cross 200,000 deaths.

Beds lie inside an indoor stadium converted into COVID-19 treatment center for emergencies in the wake of the spike in the numbers of positive coronavirus cases in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, April 28, 2021.

Dar Yasin, Associated Press

India’s new wave of coronavirus cases continues to cripple the country, as more and more people have died waiting for oxygen, beds and medical supplies, according to BBC News.

A nasty second wave of the novel coronavirus has pushed India’s total COVID-19 death toll above 200,000, BBC News reports. And that number might be higher as areas of the country might not have been reporting the full scope of the infections.

Less than one week ago, India had record-breaking COVID-19 cases in a single day with 312,731 new cases, as I wrote for the Deseret News. This surpassed the previous record of 300,669 coronavirus cases in a single day, which was set during the winter in the United States.

Why is there a COVID-19 spike in India?

Experts are a little uncertain about why there’s been a surge in coronavirus, as there hasn’t been one answer to explain the spike. The country was heading toward a peaceful reopening and return to normal before the recent spike in cases, according to The Washington Post. It’s happened so fast that there hasn’t been a chance for massive research.

The World Health Organization said Tuesday that India is dealing with multiple variants to the coronavirus, which has accelerated the recent COVID-19 outbreak, The Washington Post reports.

According to The New York Times, the outbreak comes at a troubling time because the country has dealt with COVID-19 surges before. We know more about the virus than we did one year ago. But still, the coronavirus has pushed through, representing “a breakdown, a collapse, a realization that so many people will die.”

Per BBC News, the new wave of cases might be tied to India’s government dropping restrictions. For example, the country allowed mass gatherings like religious events and election rallies.

  • “There was no effort to prepare medical facilities despite so many countries around the world facing a second, more deadly, wave of the virus,” according to BBC News.
  • “Since the beginning of the pandemic, it’s been anticipated that India would be hit hard because of chronic under-investment in public health care — but if the country had prepared better for the inevitable, many lives could have been saved,” BBC News reports.

When will India’s COVID-19 spike end?

And it’s unclear when this new spike will end. Per The New York Times, researchers are still monitoring the “double mutant” version of the virus, which takes parts of a variant found in California and one found in India. The double mutation has been circulating in India for a few weeks now.

  • “The science is still early but from what we know, this variant contains one mutation that may make the virus more contagious and another that may make it partially resistant to vaccines. Doctors are pretty scared. Some we have spoken to said they had been vaccinated twice and still got seriously ill, a very bad sign.”