Rising mercury, humidity can again trigger Covid mayhem in India

New Delhi:  The rising mercury in north India and humid conditions in places like Maharashtra can again play havoc if people flout Covid guidelines, top health experts said on Tuesday, admitting that the current weather conditions in the country, especially in the western part, is conducive for Covid-19 transmission.

Six states — Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat — continue to report major surge in daily cases of Covid-19, accounting for 78.56 per cent of the new cases in the country.

India recorded 56,211 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, 17 per cent lower than the day before, taking the total tally to 1,20,95,855 on Tuesday. Lower count of cases was a result of fewer testings owing to Holi.

According to Harshal R Salve, Associate Professor at the Centre for Community Medicine, AIIMS, climatic factors such as ambient temperature and relative humidity are found to be responsible for increased transmission of Covid-19.

“The current weather conditions in the country are conducive for Covid-19 transmission. This might be one of the factors for rising cases in these parts of the country,” Salve told IANS.

Registering a steady increase for the 20th day in a row, active cases have increased to 5,40,720, accounting for 4.47 per cent of the total infections.

According to Manoj Goel, Director, Pulmonology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, the pandemic has a tendency to come in waves of infection and possibly that could be the recent reason for the outbreak of the disease.

“This is also largely related to more unrestricted social engagement of the people and not following Covid appropriate behaviour,” Goel said.

Salve added: “Nonetheless, mask use, avoiding crowded places and accepting vaccination remain the key for Covid control in the country”.

Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh cumulatively account for 79.64 per cent of the total active cases in the country. Maharashtra leads with more than 62 per cent of the active caseload in the country.

But the cases are now steadily rising in Delhi-NCR too with the onset of summer.

“The lack of social distancing and mask adherence and decrease in hand hygiene is resulting in higher number of cases,” said Neha Gupta, infectious diseases specialist at Medanta – The Medicity, Gurugram.

As on Day 73 of the vaccination drive on Monday, a total of 5,82,919 vaccine doses were given, out of which 5,51,164 beneficiaries were vaccinated across 14,608 sessions for the first dose while 31,755 beneficiaries received the second dose of the vaccine.

Those over 45 years of age will also get Covid-19 vaccine from April 1, irrespective of comorbidities.

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