India hits 10 million COVID-19 cases but pace has slowed

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India has logged more than 10 million infections of COVID-19, according to a report.

Despite the staggering tally, the pace of new cases has slowed despite many in the country abandoning masks and social distancing, Reuters reported. Health experts believe many Indians may have already developed virus antibodies.

India’s coronavirus cases peaked in mid-September with nearly 98,000 daily cases. Daily averages have declined to 30,000 this month. So far, 145,136 people have died in India from the virus.

“Herd immunity is a huge part of it … which is helping us to break the transmission,” Pradeep Awate, a senior health official in India’s worst-hit state of Maharashtra, home to Mumbai, told Reuters.

Though the country plans a vaccine roll-out soon, government health officials, using a mathematical model, estimated 60 percent of India’s 1.35 billion people have already been infected with the virus.

“If the model is correct, is unlikely that a second wave will happen, because once 60 percent have immunity, nothing can cause another wave,” said Manindra Agrawal, a committee member and professor at the Indian Institute of Technology in the northern city of Kanpur.

It’s unclear if herd immunity can be achieved against COVID-19, experts said.

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