The “Kumbh Mela” is known as the largest peaceful gathering of pilgrims in the world. It takes place every four years, in a cycle between four Indian cities: Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujan and Nashik. For a period of two months, many rituals and ceremonies are held, and clergymen of all sects of Hinduism meet with people, but the most important rite is undoubtedly the descent of millions of people to the Ganges River in order to wash away their sins, and then be reborn.
In January (1) of the current year 2021 specifically, this religious ritual caught the attention of the whole world, this time due to the expected risks of gathering a large number of people together. The Indian government was optimistic. Last year, and January of the new year, the numbers of daily cases tended towards a drastic decline, some politicians and scholars came out in the meantime to say that India had succeeded in facing “Covid-19 ″”, and it remained to celebrate victory, but with caution.
Like any developing country, India faced problems with “Covid-19”. People’s commitment to procedures was linked only to avoiding fines as much as possible. Outside banks and government departments, people could find people exchanging masks to enter, and on public transportation they wore them as the police officer standing next to a signal approached Traffic, this kind of indulgence in which the state also participated in facilitating the holding of some festivals and popular events, foremost of which is “Kumbh Kela”.
Currently, India sets a new world record (2) for “Covid-19” cases, as the country recorded more than 400 thousand cases per day by the beginning of May 2021, with record daily deaths exceeding 3600 cases, after it was recording about ten thousand A case per day by the end of last February. What raises the question is that this jump required only about four weeks to take place. How could the number of daily cases increase in this way ?! https://www.youtube.com/embed/S64lXi3BKZo?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=ar&autohide=2&wmode=transparent
During the year 2020, India was praised all over the world for its quick and effective closure policies, especially with its large population that exceeds one billion citizens, which means that there is a large potential catastrophe if the epidemic spreads in it, but despite this there was criticism of the government for allowing it to ease restrictions Very quickly, during the end of last year and the beginning of the new year, and during the end of February and last March, (3) Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, resisted calls to re-apply the nationwide lockdown measures.
But despite all these objections, the “Kumbh Mela” was held this year, and the state also allowed another festive festival called (4) “Holly Vagua” or the Festival of Colors, which takes place between the end of February and the beginning of March, when millions gather People celebrate the harvest season, the fertility of the land, the farewell of the winter season and the reception of the spring season, in addition to that, the Indian elections were held on time this year in some states, which made matters worse.
All this has caused tremendous relaxation across India, and in a government statement, Srinath Reddy, head of the country’s public health corporation, said (5) “The decrease in deaths between October 2020 and January 2021 has led to the emergence of A popular belief that the danger is completely over, reinforced by the confident assurances of some experts and politicians that India has achieved herd immunity, ”and this was one of the reasons for the loss of the most important gain in the country’s modern history. https://www.youtube.com/embed/HJqs_4A_Jwk?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=ar&autohide=2&wmode=transparent
Talking about herd immunity in India was somewhat justified, as some major studies (6) in India indicated that 50% of the population of some major cities had already contracted the disease, which means that the spread of the disease was supposed to stop, but these studies usually They did not obtain samples from specific groups, from the educated, for example, urban residents, or the urban poor, or others, which means that they are likely to miss other groups of people, such as the poor in villages, which may be static outposts that could explode at any time .
By the end of March, the Indian government acknowledged the steady increase in cases of “Covid-19”, and required the states to take strict containment measures, which included an increase in the number of daily tests, tracking of cases, provision of hospital supplies, and vaccination against the disease. The government is responsible for the second wave of “inaction among all” (7).
The epicenter of the second wave was the western state of Maharashtra, India’s third largest state by area and second in terms of population, and the richest state At the same time, Maharashtra has recorded more than a million new cases from the beginning of April to mid-April, and it is now in a state of lockdown. Already until mid-May. (8)
The capital, Delhi, two weeks ago, went into a partial lockdown, as only basic services are allowed to operate. Other states (9), such as Uttar Pradesh, the most populous in India, and Rajasthan, Karnataka, Haryana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, have tightened restrictions on their residents, such as imposing night curfews, and the ban on large gatherings, but all of these restrictions have not yet been imposed. Compared to what happened in 2020.
These measures, unfortunately, will not prevent the peak of the wave from moving forward, and even with the tightening of the measures expected during the next few period, the number of cases has already reached the point of collapse of the health system (10). If you walk around in a hospital in India, you can notice that one bed contains two and three people, the roads are crowded with waiting lists, and mass funerals have become a feature of the country and their pictures are spread over the Internet to the whole world, but the biggest tragedy now is the lack of oxygen.
In fact, India does not face a problem specifically with the lack of oxygen itself (11), as it produces more than 7,000 tons per day of it, and at its maximum needs, the country’s hospitals, in total, ask for what is several hundreds of tons less than that, but the basic problem is It was in the pressure of interstate distribution systems, where transporting oxygen needed to cars and preservation devices of a special nature that were not available in large quantities.
In addition, there is a clear degree of poor planning and distribution that appeared with the intensification of the crisis, as some states obtained more quantities of their oxygen needs, which caused a shortage in other states. In conclusion, the death wave rose immediately when the oxygen problem began to appear, because it is the only solution to deal with serious cases of disease.
On the other hand, efforts to vaccinate citizens in India face several problems related to distribution and planning, although the country delivered more than 100 million doses by mid-April, a huge number that puts it in an advanced position globally, it quickly suffered from the problem of lack of vaccines ( 12), and some service delivery centers in the country have already closed, and officials at the “Institute of Serum India”, the largest vaccine manufacturer in India and the whole world, indicated that they would not be able to raise India’s daily production before June due to lack of funding. The country is lax in supporting the production of vaccines for local use, while cases decline.
For this reason, India has now placed a temporary suspension on all exports of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, because the doses were urgently required inside the country, and it allowed the import of foreign vaccines, primarily the Russian vaccine “Sputnik-V”, and all this caused a crisis for other countries that were waiting to obtain Their vaccines are from India.
But besides all those reasons that are believed to have been related to the massive wave that India is currently facing, whether poor planning or laxity in managing the closure or vaccination problems, there remains another reason that a team of researchers believes has contributed to the problem, and it is a new mutation of the virus that appeared in Maharashtra. (The epicenter of the new wave), and announced by the Indian government on March 24 (13), where it said that 15-20% of infections are due to a mutated strain of the virus containing two unusual mutations, “E484Q” and “L425R”. The new variant of the virus was named “B.1.617”, and because of the two mutation, it was also called “double mutagen”.
We do not know much about this new variant of the virus yet, but because of our previous knowledge of this type of mutation, we believe that it contributed to pushing this huge wave of infections to its limits, as mutations may increase the ability of the virus to spread among humans, or enable it to cling to more. With its receptors in the body. Some point at that point to what happened in Brazil late last year, when the outbreak in Manaus coincided closely with the spread of a highly transmissible virus variant known as P.1.
But all this is not yet confirmed, and it requires more scientific research during the next few weeks, and we do not yet know the extent of the impact of this mutation on the seriousness of the virus, but the most important point that occupies the attention of most researchers is related to the extent of the impact of this mutation on the effectiveness of available vaccines in India or the whole world, as some questioned the ability of vaccines to resist this new variable, so some countries closed airlines with India in anticipation of any expected risk. (14) https://www.youtube.com/embed/G_H_eQF3EEw?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=ar&autohide=2&wmode=transparent
In any case, what we learn from the current harsh Indian experience is that the term “second wave” or “third wave” may be misleading, because the virus does not disappear in the sense that people understand, so they race to go out and celebrate, but the idea is that there are new hotspots exploding Suddenly, after a lull that may shorten or be prolonged, it is like throwing a handful of bullets into the fire, every short period of time one of them explodes.
The same is true in the case of the new Corona, although some countries in the Arab world are facing a decrease in the number of cases, and others have already forgotten that there is a fierce virus wandering around in the streets, perhaps because it is tired of its news, and new hotspots may appear at any time, which may be caused by activities. A human being that thinks it is normal, such as crowds of holidays or festivals, or even a joy, a funeral, a football match, etc.
The clear truth so far is that “Covid-19” has not gone away, and it may appear at any time a massive appearance, so everyone should adhere as much as possible to the procedures and obtain the vaccine when it is available, and although this appears to be traditional advice, we – unfortunately – We don’t have any other yet.