The Covid-19 Pandemic Crisis in India

The Covid-19 Pandemic Crisis in India

The Crisis

The Covid-19 crisis in India has reminded the world that the coronavirus pandemic will occupy all of us for a much longer time than expected. There are a number of factors that need to be considered:

  • On the positive side, the rapid development of vaccines has brought much hope to the world that the pandemic could be ended. Some countries where the distribution of vaccines was fast have indeed seen a huge drop in coronavirus infections.
  • However, India has rapidly developed into the world's largest Covid-19 hotspot. What are the reasons? India is a large vaccine producer, but has not rapidly enough vaccinated its own population.
  • One of the reasons of the coronavirus shockwave in India might be novel mutations, discussed separately.
  • Other reasons might be government policies, for example allowing large gatherings in India recently.
  • Also behavioural reasons, with too many Indians believing the country had already overcome the pandemic, might be blamed.

The Covid-19 project recently organised a round table discussion on the India Covid-19 crisis.

View our round table discussion video.


One of the current features of the coronavirus pandemic is the more frequent occurrence of virus mutations or lineages, the latter including a geographical dimension of heritage. The most worrying aspect of mutations is given by the fact that novel lineages can be more transmissible, and/or can escape immune responses better. To understand the definition of lineages best visit the PANGO webpages. Currently the new B.1.617.2 lineage is spreading around India and world-wide. Not much is yet known about how B.1.617.2 is transmitted easier then, for example B.1.1.7, the so-called Kent variant found first in the south of England. But its rapid spread in England, outcompeting B.1.1.7, suggests it does indeed have higher transmissibility.

The focus of this discussion was exploring the reasons for India's coronavirus surge, such as behaviour, government policies and the ocurrence of novel coronavirus mutations.

The latest coronavirus data from India.

Provided by the Indian SARA-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) in collaboration with GISAID.

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Friday, 22 September 2023