NEW DELHI: The country on Monday morning registered the highest single-day jump of 40,425 fresh COVID-19 cases pushing its tally of total infected people to 11,18,043 while the death toll rose to 27497, as per the official figures.
A total of 681 fatalities were reported in 24 hours.
On the day the country recorded yet another record high in number of cases, a group of epidemiologists batted for opening educational institutions and encouraging healthy individuals to attend offices in person, rather than working from home, once the COVID-19 curve stabilises.
In a statement issued on Monday, four senior doctors, including a working and a retired community medicine specialist at AIIMS, Delhi said that while the opening of schools and colleges, at present, seems like a bizarre idea that will only put the future of the country at risk, there could be a silver lining.
"If schools and colleges go back to functioning in full swing, keeping in mind distancing and sanitisation norms, there is a possibility that sooner or later, everyone will get exposed," said Dr Sanjay K Rai, professor, Centre of community medicine, AIIMS, Delhi.
"Children have fresh immunity, and they can be major contributors to us achieving herd immunity. The process is quite complex, though - careful interpretation and increase in testing are vital for it to be successful," he added.
Dr Amitav Banerjee, a professor of community medicine at the Dr DY Patil Medical College, Pune, said, "If we choose to open schools and colleges once the curve stabilises, there are very strong chances that we will be able to achieve herd immunity."
"Children and young adults have a fresh immunity, which makes them better prepared to fight infections. It has a multiplier effect - if we develop it, we can protect many people," he too stressed, adding that 24 districts in the USA did not have a single child fatality.
Meanwhile, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare underlined that despite surging fresh coronavirus cases, the country's case fatality rate due to the infection is progressively falling and is currently at 2.46 -- one of the lowest in the world.
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Overall, 7,00,086 people have now recovered from COVID-19 while the number of active cases stand at 3,90,459.
"Effective clinical management of the moderate and severe cases through a well-executed Standard of Care protocol has ensured a high rate of recovery among the COVID-19 patients," the ministry said.
The Centre is hand-holding and supporting the state governments in collectively combating COVID, it also underlined.