India’s COVID Distress: Job Losses and High Caseload

Housing 4559725 positive cases, India becomes the second-worst COVID-hit country. India’s COVID caseload is higher than reported. Also, job loss is higher than ever in the Asian Country.

India’s COVID Status

India overtakes Brazil as it confirms 44,62,965 COVID cases. The country accounts for more than 30% of the cases in the world, while it has 17.7% of the world’s population.  As 77.2% of cases have recovered, India’s fatality rate stands 1.73%, much lower than the global Fatality Rate of 3.29%.

Caseload More Than Reported

India reported around 62,780 daily cases on an average in the last 14 days. Experts attribute a spike in August to the increased testing. From 4 to 5 lakh tests, the country managed to conduct around 11 lakh cases daily by the end of the month. However, half of them were rapid antigen tests which have the possibility of clearing positive patients. Subsequently, in the absence of repeat testing or the validation of negative results with a PCR test, infected individuals will continue to remain undiagnosed.

CMIE Reports Loss of 21 Million Salaried Jobs

Data released by CMIE revealed that around 21 million salaried people lost their jobs during the April-August period, with 3.3 million jobs lost in August. Besides, salaried jobs decreased from 86 million to 65 million in the year 2019-2020. These salaried jobs also include salaried people in the informal sector such as house helps, gardeners, and drivers which makes around 21 to 22% of the total employment in India. While jobs in the farming sector witnessed an increase, entrepreneurs suffered a downfall during the lockdown. Also, daily wage workers accounted for 91 million of the 121 million jobs lost during April.

COVID Spreads

Initially, as the COVID unfolded, the cases were limited to only urban areas. However, with eased restrictions on travel, the cases started increasing in rural areas. In August, the virus was detected in Greater Andaman, one of the seven islands of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. The Union territory has reported 3426 cases so far.

Behavioral Fatigue

Despite the awareness and containment efforts by the government, the number of cases is surging each day. Doctors are attributing the increase in caseload to behavioural fatigue. Randeep Guleria, AIIMS director, rightly pointed out last week that people are becoming less vigilant over time. After months of stringent lockdown, people are stepping out, which is subsequently leading to transmission of the virus. He advised people to continue wearing masks, practice social distancing, and sanitize their hands frequently.

In all, India was adding a higher number of cases than the USA to its COVID tally owing to eased restrictions and overwhelmed health infrastructure.   

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