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Kerala Accounts For Nearly 50 Per Cent Of The Fresh COVID-19 Cases Reported In India, Is It A Matter Of Concern?

An increasing ‘R’ value, or Covid reproduction rate, in Kerala, had earlier this month triggered concerns of a renewed wave, which could even fuel a national spike

Kerala Accounts For Nearly 50 Per Cent Of The Fresh COVID-19 Cases Reported In India, Is It A Matter Of Concern?
Highlights
  • At 44.4%, Kerala has the lowest antibodies in the country: Sero survey 4
  • Over 50% of Kerala’s eligible population has got first dose of vaccine
  • The situation in Kerala is absolutely under control: Kerala Health Minister

New Delhi: Despite the imposition of a complete weekend lockdown, Kerala recorded 20,728 fresh COVID-19 infections on Sunday. This is almost 50 per cent of the total COVID-19 cases (41,831) recorded in India in a 24-hour period, according to the Union Health Ministry’s data released on August 1. At present, there are 1,67,379 active cases in Kerala. A test positivity rate of 12.14 per cent was recorded out of 1,70,690 samples tested in the last 24 hours. While the Covid situation in the entire country has started improving, the numbers of daily cases recorded in Kerala are a matter of concern.

An increasing ‘R’ value, or Covid reproduction rate, in Kerala, had earlier this month triggered concerns of a renewed wave, which could even fuel a national spike.

Dr Sulphi Noohu, State-President Elect of IMA Kerala tells NDTV,

Total number of cases are definitely a lot in Kerala. We did around 1.6 lakh tests yesterday and more than 20,000 tested positive. Total Positivity Rate or TPR is one of the most crucial factors of COVID-19 and we have to bring it down to below 5 per cent. With the Onam festival season approaching, we need to have special precautions and restrictions in place. The Kerala COVID-19 model is in place, there is nothing wrong with the model as it has been in place for the last 50 years. The government is preparing a new module to implement the relaxations in the state in the coming days. We are also aiming to ramp up the vaccinations in the state, a few days ago, we insulated about 5 lakh people in a day and we wish to continue this process.

Also Read: COVID-19 Infections Rise, Delta Variant Spreads To 132 Countries: WHO

The Centre has sent a six-member team headed by Dr S K Singh, Director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to Kerala. The team has been sent to collaborate with the state health authorities in instituting effective public health measures for COVID-19 management.

Though the state is vaccinating at a rate much faster than the rest of the country, its sero-positivity figure is lower.

According to the fourth serosurvey by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) done between June 14 and July 6, Kerala, at 44.4 per cent, has the lowest Covid antibodies in the country.

What experts point out is that the 44.4 per cent who showed antibodies would also include those vaccinated. Over 50 per cent of Kerala’s eligible population has got at least a first dose of vaccine.

Also Read: Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin Effective Against Delta Plus Covid Variant: Study

Dr Rajesh Parikh, Jaslok Hospital says that despite the rise in cases, Kerala COVID-19 model has emerged as successful.

Ease of restrictions are expected, but if you see the Kerala model, which is intact and really good, despite the high number of cases. This is because we are in such a stage of this pandemic, where the variables that go into the decision-making are becoming a little more complex than what it was before in the early days. Paradoxically, this is an example of how the Kerala model has been successful in the earlier days of the pandemic. We have to see it in the context of some more variables. If we see the vaccination rate in Kerala, 21 per cent of the population has received both the doses of vaccine, as opposed to the country’s 7 per cent; that’s three times more. If we see this in the context of the seroprevalence data that was 44 per cent. This tells us that the early moves that Kerala made in line with its model, have actually been successful. Now if you see that in the context of vaccination, and more importantly, a third variable, even at these rates, only 50 per cent of hospital capacity in the state is being consumed. So clearly, the state has very successfully flattened the wave, since they are at no point getting overwhelmed.

Kerala is also conducting a high number of targeted testing, as compared to other states, Dr Parikh said.

Also Read: COVID-19 In India: The Rise In R-Value Is A Cause Of Concern, Says Dr Randeep Guleria, AIIMS

Kerala Health Minister Veena George tells NDTV that what is being seen now, she reiterated, was a result of a well-planned strategy to handle the pandemic. Citing a number of parameters that indicate “our defensive measures were very good”, Ms George said the focus right now is on vaccines, something the state is running out of quickly.

The situation in Kerala is absolutely under control. How do you anaylse this? Look at the data on occupancy in hospitals. It is less for hospitals, for ICU beds, and even in demand for oxygen support. It means the severity of the disease is less. A Central team visited Kerala a couple of weeks ago. They visited many places, they visited hospitals, they went to many districts. They communicated to us that they are satisfied with the measures the government is adopting. They told us that plateau-formation in this phase is quite expected, Ms George told NDTV in an exclusive interview.

The Health Minister lastly said that despite the high number of cases, the state has a mere 0.4 per cent of fatality rate as compared to the all-India average of 1.34 per cent.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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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