COVID-19's Rise and Impact in India

The COVID-19 pandemic in India is part of the global coronavirus disease 2019, which is characterized by extreme respiratory distress. On January 30, 2020, the first case of COVID-19 in India, which originated in China, was registered. In Asia, India currently has the highest number of confirmed cases. With nearly 20 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection and 249,992 deaths as of May 2021, India has the world's second-highest number of confirmed cases.

Three Indian medical students who had returned from Wuhan reported the first cases of COVID-19 in India in the towns of Thrissur, Alappuzha, and Kasargod, all in the state of Kerala. Kerala was placed on lockdown on March 23, 2020, and the rest of the country on March 25, 2020. Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai, and Thane accounted for roughly half of all registered cases in the country by mid-May 2020. For the first time on June 10, India's recoveries surpassed active events. In September, infection rates began to decline, as did the number of new and active cases. Daily cases increased in mid-September at over 90,000 a day before falling to under 15,000 in January 2021.

A second wave, which began in March 2021, was much wider than the first, with vaccine shortage, hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, and other medicines in certain parts of the country. By late April, India had surpassed the United States in the number of new and active cases. It was the first country to record over 400,000 new cases in 24 hours on April 30, 2021. Owing to weak infrastructure, low testing rates, and people dying at home, experts say India's statistics are greatly underdiagnosed.

On January 16, 2021, India launched its vaccination program, and by April, it was administering 4 million doses a day. The British Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine (Covishield), the Indian BBV152 (Covaxin) vaccine, and the Russian Sputnik V vaccine have all been approved for emergency use in India. Less than 2% of the population had been vaccinated as of May 1, 2021.

India is in the midst of a catastrophe. Case numbers were low in most parts of the world until March 2021, leading many to believe that the worst was over. It will take some time to figure out why India was so quickly and so horrendously ravaged by the coronavirus. But one thing is certain that India's problem has become the world's problem.

As the death toll began to rise again in March and April, Indian states sat on their hands and hoped it would go down. Meanwhile, the disease had spread across the world, and new mutations had emerged. B.1.617, the latest version, was first discovered in India with two mutations: E484Q and L452R. The latest mutation is more lethal and stronger than its predecessor. However, India requires a new, centrally organized lockdown, perhaps beginning with areas where there is already a large number of infections and gradually expanding to include all areas.

Economic Impact

After the implementation of demonetization and GST, the Indian economy has been in a subdued state. The GDP forecast for 2019-20 has been lowered from an ambitious 7 percent to 5.4 percent. As a result, in August 2019, the government proposed significant tax cuts for companies in order to get the economy back on track. The Purchase Managers Index (PMI) and Manufacturing Index both rose in January and February 2020, indicating the effect of these initiatives.

COVID-19, on the other hand, has put an end to any expectations of an economic recovery in the near future. Despite the worldwide lockdown, the country's growth is expected to fall below 5% in FY 2019-20.

According to a study by the International Labor Organization, about 400 million jobs in the informal economy are at risk of slipping further into poverty as a result of the crisis. Unemployment has risen from 8.4 percent in the week ending March 22 to 23.4 percent in the week ending April 5, according to estimates from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).

Social Impact

When the virus hit, India shut down quickly and then reopened too quickly. Despite the fact that there were not many cases at the time, the country was shut down at four hours’ notice in March 2020. Millions of people were trapped without food or shelter, many of whom were migrant workers. Faced with social catastrophe, the government decided to reopen the country before the pandemic spread.

Fear of what would happen to the economy, especially the poor, if lockdowns were reinstated. The federal government could hasten the process by promising existence cash transfers to anyone with a government-issued ID in restricted areas. This should be combined with limits on cross-district travel.


The central government's stance is that vaccination is available to everyone, but that it must be paid for by either individuals or states. As a result, anyone who can afford it will get vaccinated, and certain states will cover the most, but the rest of the population will be on their own. Making free vaccinations available to everyone and allocating sufficient administrative and human resources to make it happen will convince the country and possibly protect the planet.

In late April, more than a week after the daily caseload had surpassed 300,000, did the Biden administration declare it would send vaccines and humanitarian relief to India. In the war against the COVID-19 pandemic, India provided medical and other assistance to over 150 countries last year, and the global crisis has seriously tested the resilience of all nations. However, the world must look beyond India to avoid making yet another timing error. We cannot afford to replicate the mistakes of the first wave when we underestimated the speed at which a virus would spread.

The B. 1.617 version, which was first discovered in India, is now spreading throughout the world. In India, it appears that some vaccinated people are being sick. It would be naive to believe that having “better” vaccines available in the West would automatically save us. Leaders and scientists must find out how to combat variations, which could include booster shots, new medicines, masks, and slow reopening.

In countries where oxygen resources and hospital wards are scarce, this would be disastrous. When required, the US and Europe must be prepared to act quickly. This means delivering and manufacturing vaccines as quickly as possible, and maybe perhaps, more importantly, engaging in mass surveillance and testing, as well as being ready to ship oxygen and supplies, as well as provide financial assistance to people in lockdown. Preparing now can give us a better chance of avoiding a repeat of India's nightmare.