On the fifth consecutive day, active Covid-19 cases in the country continue to rise, crossing the 1.5 lakh mark in 17 days, which is the steepest overall increase since November-end, an indication of the second wave of infection setting in.
The increase in active cases is also double than 1.5 per cent recorded this time last week.
The total number of new cases reported per day has also increased from a low of 9,121 on February 16 to 14,199 on Monday, with the seven-day moving average increasing by 13.8 per cent. The total tally of Covid-19 cases on Monday crossed 1.10 crore and the toll reached close to 1,56,500.
The spike in national numbers comes as five States — Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh — report increased daily numbers. The Centre has warned all five States that continued “adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour” is critical to breaking the chain of transmission and contain coronavirus.
“Over 74 per cent of active cases are in Kerala and Maharashtra... there has also been a spike in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh... Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir are also witnessing a surge in daily new cases,” the Health Ministry said on Sunday.
In Maharashtra, the worst-affected State, the seven-day moving average of new cases was 5,230 this morning — the highest since 5,576 on December 2. This morning 6,971 new cases were reported in 24 hours — the most since October 24, when 7,347 were detected.
In Kerala, the second worst-affected State, the seven-day moving average of new cases was 4,361 this morning and 4,070 new cases were reported in 24 hours.
As on February 22, the vaccination coverage was 1,11,16,854 through 2,32,317 sessions. These include 63,97,849 HCWs (1st dose), 9,67,852HCWs (2nd dose) and 37,51,153FLWs (1st dose).
The second dose of Covid-19 vaccination started on February 13 for those beneficiaries who have completed 28 days after receipt of the 1st dose. Vaccination of the frontline workers started on February 2.
A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health titled --Exploratory Analysis of Demographic Factors and the Temporal Evolution of covid-19 in India - suggested that highly urbanised States including Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu are vulnerable during the current pandemic with incoming data from India further showing that hyper-urbanised cities like Mumbai and Delhi are hit hardest, requiring additional health infrastructure sustainability amid challenges in the social environment.
Public health experts have warned that the evolving pandemic may pan out in the second wave of infections considering several factors.