1 in 3 Indians surveyed believe the 4th COVID wave in India has already started
- ● 55% surveyed are highly confident that experts in India will be able to effectively handle things in the event of a 4th COVID wave
- ● Given the rising cases in several districts, 83% citizens want the Health Ministry to make it mandatory for all districts to report daily COVID cases
April 27th, 2022, New Delhi: India’s R or reporductive value has climbed above 1 again with Delhi NCR having a R value of 2.1, meaning every infected person is infecting 2.1 individuals. The COVID cases in India are rising once again, with the epicenter of it this time being Delhi and the National Capital region (NCR). Almost all states have lifted restrictions on movement, people have started moving more freely, students are back to school, employees are working from offices and international commercial flights to India are fully operational. Most states have also lifted the mask mandate, whereas states like Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh had to bring it back in the NCR districts as cases started to rise in the past 2 weeks.
Though at a national level India is still recording under 3000 daily cases, over 1500 of them are from Delhi and NCR cities, with a daily TPR ranging between 4% and 8%. Notably, many people are either not getting tested or doing an at home rapid antigen test that do not get reported in official figures. The genomic sequencing data for India as on Apr 16th, 2022, suggests that 80% of cases may be of the BA.2.10 and BA.2.12 almost split evenly. Many experts in India are suspecting that the current surge in Delhi-NCR is being led by BA.2.12.1 sub-variant, which is also leading to a surge in New York currently. The big question in everyone’s mind is, are we in the early days of a 4th wave? With flights open fully and 5-7 different variants of Omicron circulating around the world and many countries experiencing surge in cases, the risk is very much there. South Africa, which experienced a surge in December 2021 led by Omicron BA.1, is now experiencing a fresh surge led by BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron. Some experts are of the opinion that COVID waves are likely every 6 months as immunity from natural infection reduces over time.
LocalCircles has been closely tracking citizen pulse on the subject, and as people discuss the rising cases and the global situation on the platform, it sought to understand from people about their view of the COVID situation, their confidence in India’s experts and their ability to handle the 4th wave and whether there is a need for timely reporting by districts about cases observed. The survey received 36,000 responses from citizens across 341 districts of India. 68% of the respondents were men while 32% were women. 41% respondents were from metros/tier 1 districts, 33% from tier 2 districts and 26% were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts.
1 in 3 Indians surveyed believe the 4th COVID wave in India has already started
The first question in the survey asked citizens, “At this point in time given the global COVID situation, international flights to India open, resurgence of COVID cases in Delhi-NCR, when do you see India having a 4th COVID wave?” In response, 29% of citizens said “Not likely in 2022”, and 4% said “Not for 6 months atleast”. Breaking down the poll, 34% said “It already started in April”, 13% said “Starting May-June”, 7% said “Starting July-August”, and 4% said “Starting Sep-October”. 9% did not have an opinion. On an aggregate basis, 1 in 3 Indians believe that the 4th COVID wave in India has already started. This question in the survey received 11,563 responses.
55% surveyed are highly confident that experts in India will be able to effectively handle things in the event of a 4th COVID wave
The 2nd wave of the SARS-CoV2 in the span of around 2 months tested the Central Government and every State Government in the country in their ability to handle the outbreak vis-à-vis Governance. The COVID-19 cases led by Delta variant started taking a toll at an unprecedented pace from mid-March to mid-May 2021, taking more lives every day, crumbling the country’s weak health infrastructure to a breaking point. However, post that the Central and State Governments did some preparedness work and tracked things closely till the arrival of Omicron in December 2021. Luckily, Omicron did not lead to severe cases and hospitalisations and need for oxygen supplies, ventiallators and ICU beds were at a minimum.
The following question asked citizens, ‘Given that 5-7 variants of COVID are now in circulation around the world, how confident are you that experts in India will be able to effectively handle things in the event of a 4th COVID wave?” In response, the majority, 55% of citizens said they are “Highly confident”, 29% said “Somewhat confident”, and 4% said “Very little confidence”. Breaking down the poll, 8% of citizens are “Not confident at all”. 4% did not have an opinion. On an aggregate basis, 55% surveyed are highly confident that experts in India will be able to effectively handle things in the event of a 4th COVID wave. This question in the survey received 12,609 responses.
Given the rising cases in several districts, 83% citizens want the Health Ministry to make it mandatory for all districts to report daily COVID cases
As it happened when COVID cases increased during the 2nd and 3rd COVID waves, most districts in India reported their daily positive cases as well as deaths. But as cases declined, many states and districts have stopped reporting daily COVID cases post February this year. Given the recent rise of cases in some states and districts, the question in the survey asked citizens if the Health Ministry should make it mandatory for all districts to report daily COVID cases. In response, the majority 83% of citizens said “Yes”, and only 12% said “No” while 5% did not have an opinion. This question received 12,064 responses.
As the situation stands right now with the recent rise in COVID cases in parts of India and the situation globally, 1 in 3 Indians now believe the 4th wave in India has already started. 2 in 3 citizens, however, believe that the 4th wave has not started yet. Given the arrival of the 4th wave, 55% of those surveyed are highly confident that experts in India will be able to effectively handle things. This is largely basis the experience of 3rd COVID wave, however, if the virus turns out to be more severe, it has the potential to test the country’s weak healthcare infrastructure, like the Delta variant. Regardless of the variant and its strength, 83% of citizens want the Union Health Ministry to make it mandatory for all districts to report daily COVID cases.
Basis inputs from scientists, epidemiologists, virologists and pediatricians, data from the risk of re-infection by transmissible nature of COVID variants and sub-variants and survey findings, a conservative approach is warranted in regard to masking, social distancing and other restrictions. The moment COVID cases start rising at a district level, the mask mandates and other restrictions should be immediately reintroduced.
The survey received 36,000 responses from citizens across 341 districts of India. 68% of the respondents were men while 32% were women. 41% respondents were from metros/tier 1 districts, 33% from tier 2 districts and 26% were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.
LocalCircles, India’s leading Community Social Media platform enables citizens and small businesses to escalate issues for policy and enforcement interventions and enables Government to make policies that are citizen and small business centric. LocalCircles is also India’s # 1 pollster on issues of governance, public and consumer interest. More about LocalCircles can be found on https://www.localcircles.com
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