No let-up in COVID numbers: Centre rushes special team to Kerala

Kerala’s weekly positivity rate stands at 12.1%, which is 5 times the national average of 2.4%

After a brief lull, the number of positive cases has started climbing again. India recorded 44,230 new cases on Friday, the highest in last three weeks.

About 37% of all active cases in the country are still found in Kerala, which is the reason why the Union health ministry sent a six-member expert team to the state on Thursday (July 29) to help the government there tackle the infection more efficiently.

Director of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Dr Sujeet Singh is heading the six-member team, which will reach Kerala on Friday (July 30). The team will be visiting a few districts immediately.

Kerala reports half the positive cases in country

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Kerala’s weekly positivity rate stands at 12.1%, which is 5 times the national average of 2.4% for the given period. The weekly positivity rate means proportion of samples that return positive among total tested.

As per one serosurvey report, a little more than 40% people in Kerala above the age of six have been infected so far. This is worrying because the national average is more than 67 per cent.

On the positive side, the state’s COVID-19 mortality rate is 0.5%, the best in the country, and much better than the national average of 1.3%.

The southern state recorded in excess of 20,000 infections from July 27 to July 29, which was half of India’s total new cases for the given period.

State has a high R value

The R-factor reflects the pace at which the infection is spreading in the country. Kerala has an R value of 1.11, which means every 100 infected people are passing on the infection to 111 people.

If the R-value is less than one, it implies the number of people with fresh infection is less than the number of infected people in the given period. An R value of less than one means the disease incidence is going down. As per one study by the Union Health Ministry, 67 per cent Indians already have antibodies against the coronavirus.

Also read: Delta variant driving fourth wave of COVID in Middle East: WHO

Sitabhra Sinha of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences said the northeastern states too are suffering with cases rising steadily. “Looks like it (Kerala) will remain in the top spot for the next couple of weeks. The Northeast continues to have a very bad situation with most states having R-value more than one,” said Sinha, head of the team that analysed the R-value, while speaking to news agency PTI.

Just to give an idea of how critical R value is, at the peak of the second wave (March 9 to April 21), India’s overall R value stood at 1.37. After April 24, it fell to 1.18 and then to 1.1 between April 29 and May 7.

The national scene

After a brief lull, the number of positive cases has started climbing again. India recorded 44,230 new cases on Friday, the highest in last three weeks. About half the cases are from Kerala alone.

India’s test positivity rate is 2.4% while that of Kerala is 12.1%. A positivity rate of less than 5% means the health authorities ate testing adequately as per the caseload at hand. A positivity rate of more than 5% means more testing is required.

Cases have been steadily rising in Kerala’s neighbourhood. Karnataka on Thursday reported 2,052 new cases, 34 per cent more than Wednesday’s tally of 1,531. Bengaluru recorded 505 cases.

Also read: 70% people in 8 populous states have COVID antibodies: Sero-survey

Tamil Nadu also reported a slight increase in new cases. A total of 1,859 new cases were reported on Friday, taking the tally till date to 25,55,664.

Maharashtra reported a significant fall with 7,242 new infections and 190 fatalities on Thursday. The caseload stands at 62,90,156 and death toll at 1,32,335.

Vaccination so far

The Union Health Ministry said on Thursday that 45.55 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far.

Cumulatively, 14,66,22,393 people in the age group of 18-44 years across all states and Union Territories have received their first dose and 76,51,261 their second dose since the start of phase three of the vaccination drive.

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