Just when the vaccination drive and the fall in caseload was reassuring us that we may have put the worst of Covid behind us, cases have begun rising again. Here in Mumbai, daily case count has shot up 5x in a matter of days. The rest of the state and country are also witnessing a sharp rise and so are other parts of the world. France has gone into lockdown earlier this week. As this article shows, Eastern Europe and Latin America are seeing a surge as well. So what is causing this surge? The article says whilst there is a possibility that as we got comfortable with the reduced count and vaccines in sight, we may have let our guard down, data around footfalls don’t corroborate the view. In India as well, it doesn’t seem like activity has gone beyond what we had seen over the past six months. Indeed, if at all it seems to be have come down since the crowded festive season. Instead, now that testing for specific variants has grown, we have data to show that a large proportion of the new cases, as high as 60 or 80% in France and the Czech Republic respectively have been due to the UK variant which is 30% more transmissible. Indeed, the Indian government has recommended states test for this variant as well as that seems to be the most likely cause.

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