Some of the states that first saw a steady rise in COVID-19 cases at the start of the deadly second wave of the pandemic are now seeing a plateauing of fresh infections, a top official of the Health Ministry said today.
Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat were among the states hit hardest when the second wave of the pandemic exploded. In no time hospitals started sending out SOS for medical oxygen needed for critical Covid patients and beds started filling up fast, plunging these states into big difficulties.
“Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Jharkhand are the states where cases were increasing earlier, but are now plateauing gradually,” Additional Secretary (Health) Arti Ahuja said.
However, some states are still seeing a daily rise in Covid cases. These are Karnataka, Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Odisha, Health Ministry officials told reporters today.
Twelve states have over one lakh active Covid cases, and seven states have between 50,000 and one lakh active cases, the Health Ministry said today.
The positivity rate is above 15 per cent in 24 states and in the range of 5-15 per cent in nine, it said.
The Health Ministry asked the states to prioritise beneficiaries waiting for their second dose of vaccine.
The second wave of the pandemic has hit the country hard, with hospitals across states running out of beds and medical oxygen. The economic toll of the pandemic is also seen to be unprecedented.
Some 230 million Indians fell into poverty due to the pandemic last year with young people and women the hardest hit, and the current second wave threatens to make matters even worse, a new study has said.
The months-long lockdown from last March put around 100 million people out of work, the report by the Bengaluru-based Azim Premji University said, with around 15 per cent unable to find jobs even by the end of the year.
Women were especially worse-off, with a staggering 47 per cent of female workers unable to secure employment even after virus restrictions were lifted, according to the study published on Wednesday.
The report, which defined people in poverty as those living on less than Rs 375 per day, said, “Though incomes fell across the board, the pandemic has taken a far heavier toll on poorer households.”
The report’s authors urged the centre to expand its fiscal stimulus by providing free groceries and cash transfers to the most vulnerable households as well as launch an employment programme in the worst-hit districts, news agency AFP reported.
With inputs from AFP