20 Mar 2021: Government blames superspreader events, like weddings, for coronavirus surge
A preliminary assessment by the Union government has found that superspreader events, like weddings, are responsible for the surge in coronavirus cases, reports HT.
It was also judged that people became careless in their behavior in the recent months when fresh daily cases touched new lows.
On both Thursday and Friday, India added over 40,000 new cases to its tally, the highest since November.
Statement: Dr. VK Paul highlighted people in villages are still vulnerable
Dr. VK Paul from the NITI Aayog said that superspreader events have a role in the recent surge in cases.
"We must understand that there is still a large section of the population that is vulnerable, especially in villages. We cannot afford to lower our guard at this stage, and should avoid mass gatherings as it can become superspreading events," he underlined.
Suggestion: He wants districts with higher positivity rate to enhance testing
He suggested that one of the ways to curtail the spread was enhanced testing by the more reliable RT-PCR method, especially in districts that are reporting a high positivity rate.
Separately, doctors in New Delhi also blamed weddings.
Dr. Surajit Chaterjee, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, at Indraprastha Apollo hospital, said he knows of groups of people contracting the virus at weddings.
Fact: 'We have to change our behavior'
"Then, there are kitty parties where four to five people have contracted the infection. We need to change our behavior, there is no other way to control the spread of the infection. These events are not a necessity and should be avoided," he added.
Punjab: In Punjab, authorities learned of at least 30 superspreader events
In Punjab, authorities said at least 30 superspreader events came to the fore, where over 10 coronavirus cases were linked to one event.
Citing some examples, Dr. Rajesh Bhaskar, Punjab's nodal officer for COVID-19, said that in a funeral in Mohali, eight people of 18 tested turned out to be positive; in a government office 70 of the 132 employees tested positive.
Telangana: A funeral turned into superspreader event in Telangana
Similarly in Telangana, a funeral turned into a superspreader event last month. As many as 33 people tested positive after attending the funeral in the Karimnagar district.
G Srinivas Rao, Director of Health, put the onus on lax attitude.
"The mass infection was due to people not following COVID-19 guidelines such as social distancing and wearing masks," he said.
Second wave: India is in middle of a second wave, claimed expert
Meanwhile, painting a grim picture, Dr. NK Arora, Head, Operations Research group of National COVID-19 Task Force, said that the country is in the middle of a second wave.
India's tally stands at 11.55 million cases and the number of deaths at 1,59,613.
The worst-hit state remains Maharashtra where the cases' tally has reached 24,22,021. So far, 53,208 people have died there.