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Coronavirus State Report

Haryana Has One Of The Lowest COVID-19 Death Rates In The Country But The Recent Spike In Numbers Can Be A Cause For Concern

Lately, Haryana is seeing a rise in Novel Coronavirus cases but, high recovery rate and low mortality rate keep up the hope of keeping the pandemic in check

Haryana Has One Of The Lowest COVID-19 Death Rates In The Country But The Recent Spike In Numbers Can Be A Cause For Concern
  • Haryana has a recovery rate of 85.63% higher than India’s rate of 82.58%
  • Coronavirus case fatality rate in Haryana is 1.06% vs 1.57% for India
  • Haryana is conducting 73,036 COVID-19 tests per million population

New Delhi: On September 4, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij announced the findings of the sero-survey conducted to gauge the prevalence of coronavirus in the state. Sero-survey checks what proportion of the people surveyed have been infected by COVID-19. It is done by testing for antibodies the body develops after at least one week of contracting the virus. This survey assumes importance since the bulk of the coronavirus cases in India are asymptomatic and hence may have had the disease and recovered without ever getting tested in the total detected coronavirus cases. The sero-prevalence survey conducted in Haryana in mid-August has revealed that the overall sero-positivity of the deadly COVID-19 virus is 8 per cent. When questioned what these findings mean when it comes to a state’s fight against the virus, Dr Yatin Mehta, Chairman, Critical Care and Anesthesiologist at Medanta – The Medicity said, it depends on how one wants to see it. He said,

Either you can see the glass full or glass half empty. We can either be optimistic and say, only 8 per cent of the population has got COVID even after over eight months into the pandemic or believe that 92 per cent is still susceptible to the coronavirus.

Also Read: Sero-survey In Haryana: 8 Per Cent Of People Surveyed In The State Have COVID-19 Antibodies

As quoted by a news agency ANI, Rajeev Arora, Additional Chief Secretary (Health) believes the low prevalence findings can be attributed to the proactive efforts taken by the government to prevent the spread of infection. He said,

It also shows citizens’ compliance to COVID-19 appropriate behaviours like physical distancing, following good hand hygiene and coughing etiquette, among others.

The survey found the urban population of the state to be more affected (sero positivity of 9.6 per cent) with COVID-19 disease than rural areas showing 6.9 per cent positivity. Sharing his opinion on the findings, Dr Himanshu Negandhi, Additional Professor, Indian Institute of Public Health-Delhi, Public Health Foundation of India said,

It reaffirms the fact that the state has handled the situation very well. It will have to continue its sincere efforts while remaining extremely vigilant.

Lately, the state is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases. On September 5, for the first time, Haryana recorded the biggest one day spike of COVID-19 cases as it reported over 2,000 fresh cases. But what is encouraging is an improvement in the recovery rate and mortality rate. As of September 27, Haryana has a recovery rate of 85.63 per cent which is higher than the national average of 82.58 per cent. Haryana is also one of the few states in the country with a low fatality rate. In the last two months, the case fatality rate in the state has dropped down from 1.24 per cent (July 27) to 1.06 per cent now. The current death rate due to COVID-19 is lower than India’s death rate of 1.57 per cent.

Talking about the state’s response to the pandemic, based on the figures, Dr Negandhi said,

As I see it, Haryana has done a fantastic job in comparison to a lot of other states in north India. The reason why I appreciate Haryana is that a lot of Haryana’s districts are adjacent to Delhi which has seen a phenomenal rise in cases. Therefore, to keep the surrounding districts of the NCR which includes Faridabad, Sonipat safe is a task that Haryana has performed quite well. Also, the number of tests is increasing but the positivity rate and fatality rate are well under control. Hence, Haryana has done a very good job of containing the surge of cases.

Also Read: Coronavirus Pandemic Roundup: 60 Per Cent Of COVID-19 Cases Are In The Top Five States Worst Affected By The Pandemic

From March To September: Coronavirus Case Trajectory In Haryana

On March 12, Haryana government declared the COVID-19 disease as an epidemic. The decision was taken even before any individual tested positive for COVID-19 in the state. At the time of the decision, 44 samples of suspected cases were tested; while 38 samples were found negative, reports of six samples were awaited. However, Haryana had 14 imported cases; 14 Italians tourists were being treated at Medanta – The Medicity in Gurugram.

Five days later, on March 17, Haryana reported its first case of COVID-19 after a 29-year-old woman from Gurugram (erstwhile Gurgaon) district tested positive. According to a news agency PTI, the woman working in a Gurugram based firm had travelled to Malaysia and Indonesia.

According to the official data, the Coronavirus cases in the state seemed to be pretty much under control until late May. It is only after that Haryana started to report over 200 and 300 fresh COVID-19 cases on a regular basis. Since then, the daily increase in the COVID-19 case curve has been steadily growing. What’s worrying now is that since August 22, the state has started to report over 1,000 fresh cases. Moreover, on September 5, for the first time, Haryana recorded 2,289 fresh cases.

Till September 20, Haryana reported over 2,000 fresh cases every day and post that, a slight decline in daily new cases is being seen. On September 27, the state reported 1,515 new COVID-19 cases, lowest in almost a month.

Also Read: Union Home Secretary Lauds Haryana’s Performance In COVID-19 Management

Talking about the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in the state, Dr Negandhi said,

Haryana is not the only state to witness an increase in cases. We are seeing a surge in several other states as well and unlock does have a part to play. We are gradually opening up economies and the workplaces, there is more interaction between people and therefore, some increase is bound to happen.

As per the official data, the doubling time of coronavirus cases in the state stands at 31 days.

Throughout this period, Gurugram and Faridabad have been the worst affected districts in the state. Both the districts have reported around 20,000 cases of COVID-19 each. Dr Yatin Mehta is of the opinion that 20,000 is a far less a number considering the geography and movement of people. He said,

Gurgaon is the hub of Haryana. Both Gurugram and Faridabad have a lot of traffic and people’s movement from Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. These areas have big industries, labour coming from different regions therefore, cases are bound to increase here.

The sero-survey also found high positivity rates in the National Capital Region (NCR) districts like Faridabad and Gurgaon. Faridabad had a sero positivity rate of 25.8 per cent, the highest in the state.

Also Read: Increasing Caseload Among The Young, Makes Punjab’s Fight Against The COVID-19 Pandemic Tough

During the early phase of the pandemic, the Haryana government had closed borders with Delhi to curb the movement of people and contain the spread of the virus. Talking about why Faridabad and Gurugram are reporting maximum cases and if the bordering Delhi has to play any role in it, Dr Negandhi said,

Disease knows no border. The two reasons behind Faridabad and Gurugram contributing to state COVID numbers are the high density of population and greater interaction and travel to and from Delhi and other neighbouring areas as well. Recently, there has been a slight surge in cases in districts around Panchkula also, maybe because these are closer to Chandigarh and Punjab is seeing a spike in the number of cases. So such local occurrences will keep occurring from time to time.

Gurugram Leads COVID-19 Tally In Haryana

Gurugram is touted as one of the worst affected districts of Haryana and the numbers back the claim. On July 27, out of total 32,127 cases in Haryana, the district had 8,720 cases of COVID-19; a month later, the number of cases rose to 11,443 cases, while the state had 59,298 cases and as of September 27, Gurugram has reported 19,928 cases while Haryana had 12,3782. There have been 170 deaths and a recovery rate of 86.31 per cent. The district has a high positivity rate of 7.3 per cent whereas Haryana has a positivity rate of 6.71 per cent.

The data also reveals that the majority of deaths are reported in COVID patients with comorbidities. Of the 170 people who succumbed to COVID-19 deaths, 132 had comorbidities.

According to Dr Negandhi, the trend of higher deaths among people with comorbidities will follow in most of the states.

Also Read: Here’s How Gujarat, A State With Highest Case Fatality Rate Has Responded To Coronavirus Pandemic

Gurugram started to report a surge in cases in June raising concerns if it is going to have a COVID-19 crisis just like Delhi which was then the second worst-hit state in the country. In an interview with NDTV, Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman and Managing Director of Medanta – The Medicity had explained the surge and said,

It’s a continuous process. Gurugram administration has been very strict and quite vigorous in terms of contact tracing, isolating people and things like that but there is always this fluctuant population that moves within the tri-state area like the NCR, so there have been cases. Regardless of what the number is, the point is Novel Coronavirus is really spreading and we keep repeating the same warning to people. One, of course, is to wear a mask, practise social distancing and hand washing. But more importantly, people must understand that this is not something to live with, this is something to cope with. Coping means you must protect yourself, your family and your neighbourhood. Largely, the nation will get protected.

Further talking about the rise in cases in Gurugram and if the possibility of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is higher in the district because of the way it has been set up – high rise residential buildings – than areas which are bit more spread out, Dr Trehan had said,

Most definitely; we have seen that in Mumbai where all the floors got infected even in a six-storey building. Well to do people living in large flats also got infected. There is no such thing as it will happen only in crowded flats. It can happen in any of those flats. What needs to be done is, each Resident Welfare Association (RWA) has to make its own rules. The traffic in elevators, lobbies, and vicinity has to be regulated.

Also Read: 10 Per Cent Of World’s People May Have Been Infected With Virus, Says World Health Organisation

Though there has been a rise in cases the residents of Gurugram and people working in the city believe that strict measures were taken by the government. Vikramjeet Singh Kanwar, a resident of Gurugram and founder of Max Xchange that deals with waste management said,

Rules were definitely followed and I can say this because when my team went to pick recyclables from different buildings and societies, they were not allowed to go door-to-door. Waste was picked up from common collection points or lobbies. The health department used to regularly spray disinfectant on the heaps of plastic waste we were storing at our warehouse. Also, throughout the lockdown period and even now, we saw a beautiful synergy between citizens and administration. For instance, a few cases were reported in one of the societies at Sohna Road. To ensure the safety of other residents, the cops themselves guarded the society for at least a month. Citizens also abided by the rules and took all the precautions.

Also Read: Gurugram Teenager Brings Back Barter System, Offers Upcycled And Recycled Products In Exchange Of Dry Waste

16 Per Cent Of COVID-19 Cases In Haryana Are From Faridabad

As per the state health bulletin of September 27, Faridabad has reported over 19,000 COVID-19 cases (19,301) and the highest COVID-19 related deaths (215). The trend of high fatality rate among COVID patients with comorbidities has been seen in Faridabad as well. Of the 215 reported deaths, 175 had comorbidities.

Despite being one of the worst-affected districts of Haryana, Faridabad has a laudable recovery rate of 91.86 per cent higher than the state’s recovery rate of 85.63 per cent.

According to Mr Yash Pal, Deputy Commissioner, Faridabad, the rise in numbers is not something to be really worried about. He believes the movement of people and the phased unlock of the nation after coronavirus induced lockdown led to a surge that is controllable. While talking to NDTV about the steps Faridabad district administration is undertaking to control the pandemic, he said,

We have a high recovery rate and the cases in both the district and state are under control. We have been following an aggressive testing and tracing strategy. We have also conducted four door-to-door surveys to educate people about COVID-19 and also find out suspected cases. When the team goes for a survey, they ask for symptoms and individual and family’s travel history which aids in early diagnosis and treatment.

Also Read: India Exceeds WHO Advisory On COVID-19 Testing By Almost Six Times

Haryana’s Healthcare Infrastructure And Testing Strategy To Fight Coronavirus Pandemic

According to the official data, Haryana has 5,974 isolation beds at dedicated COVID-19 health centres, 863 ICU beds and 429 ventilator beds. Currently, over 5,000 beds are available in the state.

Haryana Has One Of The Lowest COVID-19 Death Rates In The Country But The Recent Spike In Numbers Can Be A Cause For Concern

Healthcare facilities in Haryana to fight COVID-19

If we look at the heavy case load districts, Faridabad has 1,472 beds in total and 1,191 beds are available. Similarly, Gurugram has 1,613 beds for COVID-19 patients and 1,259 beds are free.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, Haryana has 40 labs for wCOVID-19 testing.

As on July 27, Haryana was conducting 22,064 tests per million and had a test positivity rate of 5.80 per cent. Now, tests per million have shot up to 73,036 with a positivity rate of 6.71 per cent. Contrary to this, India is doing a little over 50,000 tests per million.

Haryana Has One Of The Lowest COVID-19 Death Rates In The Country But The Recent Spike In Numbers Can Be A Cause For Concern

COVID-19 testing facilities in Haryana

Talking about the state’s overall testing and tracing strategy, Dr Negandhi said,

Overall, at a state level, there is very clear guideline to test and put more and more people under test. Testing is coupled with a decent strategy of surveillance of a patient’s contacts. I live in Gurugram and in our area only they have conducted survey thrice; health teams go from society to society, call people to check and inform about testing camps being organised. So, when a state takes that extra step – beyond the testing to even reach out people – that’s a big plus for me.

The recent spike in COVID numbers in Haryana threatens to undo all the tight control on the outbreak the state has had since March. With unlocking and increased testing, the detection of COVID cases is bound to go up. The only way to keep the numbers in touch is for people to take the onus and follow guidelines of wearing masks, regular washing of hands and maintaining physical distancing.

Also Read: A Hisar-Based NGO Is Protecting COVID-19 Frontline Health Workers In Rural India

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.  


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