India is dealing with a brutal second wave. The WHO holds political and religious gatherings responsible for the surge in COVID-19 cases.
WHO Addresses Factors that Contribute to Virus Surge in India
According to WHO, there are several factors that contribute to the virus surge in India. The global health body holds political and social gatherings responsible for the same. Such social gatherings led to mass social mixing. COVID-19 is a virus that breeds in social gatherings. Henceforth, it spread its legs even more after these congregations. According to a WHO report, the Indian variant B.1.617 was first reported in October 2020 in India. The sudden surge in cases is raising questions on this variant’s potential role. Besides B.1.617, another variant called B.1.17 is also in circulation. A report suggested that the exact reason behind this sudden surge is unknown. However, mass gatherings could be a possibility.
Over the last two months, many political rallies were conducted in India. Despite several warnings from WHO, the authorities did not understand. As a result, India is now witnessing 3 to 4 lakh new infections daily. The crowd in these rallies was imaginable. More than a lakh people joined these rallies. They did not maintain social distancing or followed norms. In fact, they did not even care to wear a mask.
Another mass gathering was the Kumbh Mela. The WHO declares this too as a major reason behind the surge in cases. People were spotted taking bath in the holy Ganges without any social distancing. We can clearly see the results now. The government urged people to attend these gatherings, saying that it is quite safe. Uttarakhand CM himself repeatedly told people to visit Kumbh. Even PM Modi expressed his happiness at the crowd. The WHO warned India several times. But nobody paid heed to them at that time.
Indian Variants of COVID-19
The WHO has clearly mentioned that variants B.1.617 and B.1.17 are behind the surge in COVID-19 cases in India. Data suggests that these two variants are more transmissible than other prevalent variants. Outside India, B.1.617 is mostly reported in the UK. Therefore, WHO has declared this variant as a global variant of concern. India accounts for 95 percent of world COVID-19 cases. Brazil and the US follow India in this list.