North-East struggles to recover from COVID as cases, TPR spike

Arunachal, Manipur and Mizoram are reporting a spike in active cases and a surge in positivity

Data of June 16-23 shows that nine districts from the region had a TPR of more than 50 per cent. Representative Photo

The north-eastern parts of the country are expected to become a new hotspot for COVID-19 amid a declining trend in cases elsewhere in India, shows the official data. India has observed a sharp decline in coronavirus cases since the beginning of June. However, states like Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram are reporting a spike in active cases and a surge in positivity.

The Test Positivity Rate (TPR) of districts in the North-East is showing an alarming trend for the last few days. TPR is the number of positive patients per hundred tests conducted. It is one of the vital metrics of assessment of the spread of the pandemic in a specific region

The data of the last week (June 16-23) shows that nine districts from the region had a TPR of more than 50 per cent. This means that at least one person turned out to be positive out of every two persons tested. On the other hand, a total of 22 districts have TPR more than 20 per cent. Arunachal Pradesh has 13 of its districts in this group.

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Almost 57 per cent of the districts (65 out of 113 districts) still have more than 5 per cent TPR. According to WHO standards, a region is said to have curbed the infection when it has TPR below 5 per cent.

East Kameng and Chamlang from Arunachal Pradesh are showing very unusual figures of above 90 percent TPR. It can also be attributed to lower testing in the region.

Active cases rise, recoveries fall behind

Some of the northeastern states have reported an increase in active cases over the last ten days. Manipur that had 8,443 active cases on June 14 has 9,174 active cases on June 24. Similarly, active cases in Mizoram changed from 3,414 patients to 4,232 patients during the same time. Arunachal Pradesh saw a steady decline until June 20 while it again began adding more cases to its tally.

All the seven sister-states together have 56,969 active cases as of June 25 (Friday), the official data shows. Assam has the maximum cases (31,014 cases) followed by Manipur (9,174 cases) and Mizoram (4,455 cases) until Friday.

The recovery rate in the North-East is much below the national average of 96.66 per cent. The recovery rate of all the states combined stands at 91.37 per cent as of June 25. Tripura has the highest recovery rate while Mizoram has reported the lowest recovery. They have a recovery rate of 92.97 per cent and 75.91 per cent, respectively.

The death rate of Manipur, Meghalaya, and Nagaland is more than India’s death rate (1.31 per cent), shows official data. It stands at 1.64 per cent, 1.72 per cent, and 1.94 per cent, respectively.

Vaccination lagging

The poor vaccination percentage is also one of the concerning figures from the North-East. Only Tripura has fully vaccinated more than 10 per cent of its population. The North-East has inoculated 1.16 crore people as of June 25. But the percentage of population coverage is still very low, as per data.

As per the latest figures, the country has completed full vaccination (both doses taken) of 17.60 per cent of its population. While in the North-East, Tripura has completed full vaccination of 15.31 per cent of its population followed by Arunachal Pradesh (5.82 per cent). The rest of the states have less than five per cent completely vaccinated population.

From a single dose point of view, Tripura again tops the list with 49.9 per cent population coverage. Mizoram stands second in the list with 42.4 per cent population coverage followed by Arunachal Pradesh with 32.4 per cent.

Overall all the above metrics show that the Northeast is still reeling under the pandemic while the rest of the country is flattening the curve.

Note: The number of districts may vary as the government has divided a few urban/rural districts into two for the management of COVID data.

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