As Covid-19 Recedes in India, Bars Are Full and Masks Are Optional – The Wall Street Journal

A little over two months ago about 4,000 people were dying every day from Covid-19 in India. Yet, on a recent Friday, a rooftop bar in New Delhi was once again packed with crowds of young adults mingling without masks.

Among the hundreds at the Summer House Cafe, a popular nightclub in India’s capital city, was Srishtii Guptaa, a 29-year-old graduate student who said she lost several family members to Covid-19 in April and May.

“Life goes on,” said Ms. Guptaa, who resumed her busy social life as soon as lockdown restrictions were lifted. “Nothing stops me from partying.”

For some Indians, life has already returned to normal after a devastating spring surge. In New Delhi and other cities across the country, shoppers are once again crowding stores, diners are squeezing into restaurants, and bars are hosting crowds of revelers. Many have already abandoned safety precautions such as social distancing and wearing a mask.

Coronavirus infections have steadily fallen—despite a sluggish vaccination rollout—after hitting a peak of more than 400,000 cases a day in early May. For weeks, daily confirmed cases have plateaued around 40,000. Only about 7% of the country’s more than 1.3 billion people have received both shots of a Covid-19 vaccine.