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Second wave is here! 

Have you got your surf-board yet!

The second COVID wave and its alarming pace has surprised all of us. This is the subject of  discussion in all media channels and Whatsapp groups for the last many days including the fact that we could see it rising before it peaks out given recent/ongoing elections in some states & religious gatherings like Kumbh Mela.

While it is true that, India is now in a mini lockdown situation in select states with cases spiking, what is also true is that the mortality rate continues to remain under check in India,
vaccinations are proceeding at a swift pace, on-ground economic indicators are not expected
to deteriorate materially and India Inc is far better prepared this year vs same time last year
when the pandemic struck, given the discovery of medicines/vaccines, some hindsight and
FII/DII/Retail with loads of money on their side.

Mortality rate of last 2months excluding +60 years age population is just 0.15%. Over 70% of India’s vulnerable (+45 years age) population and moderately vulnerable (30-45 years) would
get vaccinated by July\’21 and Sep’21 respectively.


Spike in March & pan India spread takes everyone off guard

Even as we write this newsletter, India has crossed the 2.17Lakh daily COVID cases (15th April, 2021), an unfortunate milestone. The 2020 peak of daily cases of 97,894 was seen on 17th September. Thereafter cases declined drastically and by February, 2021 things looked to be under control. However, a second wave started soon after, in March, 2021 and India began to scale new peaks every day in April, 2021.

A silver lining – low mortality rate

India has reached the (not-so-good) distinction of becoming the country with second highest number of confirmed COVID cases globally, after the USA. However, one very heartening thing is that, India’s death rate remains extremely low; the lowest among Top 10 countries with highest cases and lower than most other countries globally.

Every death is sad and unfortunate and every life precious; however, having a high death rate would have immensely compounded India’s problems. Given the moderate level of healthcare infrastructure that India has, it would have got extremely difficult to manage if death rate would have gone higher.

While the mortality rate till date in India is 1.2%, the incremental mortality rate (last 2months) has been only 0.6% and if we exclude the vulnerable population (+60 years age), it slips down to 0.15%.

Maharashtra no longer “Maha” worry

Maharashtra has always been the biggest contributor to India’s daily incremental cases, right from onset of the pandemic. Current wave was dominated by Maharashtra with 50-60% of new cases in Feb/March and approx.

30% cases in April. Maharashtra contributes nearly 14% to India’s GDP and contributes nearly 18% of total GST paid by all Indian states / UTs. Hence, a fulldown lockdown or severe restrictions in Maharashtra would have affected economic growth of India, which doesn’t seem to be case currently.

Though cases have risen, there’s no cause for alarm as yet

Let us take a look at India’s COVID preparedness in the previous wave and current. Governments (Central and State) have done and continue to do their best to increase India’s COVID preparedness. However, given the expanse of our country and its population, this will continue to be challenging.