BENGALURU: On the face of it, the sudden surge in positive cases in Karnataka gives an impression that the state, which initially managed the situation well, is slowly losing the plot in its fight against Covid-19.
While the apprehension is based on the sharp increase in Covid cases — 2,653 new ones in just 10 days, the government and experts said that the situation is neither worrisome nor has it gone out of hand and that the administration can handle it.
At 1.17 per cent, the Covid mortality rate in Karnataka continues to be much lesser than the national average of 2.79 per cent and Maharashtra’s 3.48 per cent. Tamil Nadu, which has registered 27,256 cases (as on June 5), too, has managed to keep its mortality rate at just 0.80 per cent. Nearly 90 per cent of those tested in the last few days are migrant workers and their family members returning mostly from Maharashtra and other high-prevalence states.
“We have made necessary arrangements. Asymptomatic cases are very high and they can be treated at basic government hospitals that are classified as Covid Care Centres (CCCs). Severe cases that require oxygen or ventilator support are very few,” Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Jawaid Akhtar, told TNIE on Friday.
Based on the Central government’s advice, in Mumbai, Delhi and other places, asymptomatic patients are isolated at home. “That is an option, but the situation has not reached such a stage in Karnataka,” he said.
On Friday, the state reported a record 515 new cases, taking the total to 4,835. Of them, 3,088 are active cases treated at designated hospitals and CCCs. As on Friday, 13 were in ICUs.
“Increase in cases is all due to migrants coming from other states and there is no local spread. Even if numbers are increasing, there is no reason to worry as 80-85 per cent of the cases are mild or asymptomatic. Also, most of them are young and will recover fast,” said Dr S Sachidanand, Vice-Chancellor, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, and head of a committee that audited Covid deaths in the state.
“Identification of Influenza-Like Illness and Severe Acute Respiratory Infection cases helped us keep the mortality rate low. Late reporting is one of the reasons for deaths in the state,” he said. However, management of quarantine centres is a concern. After some people contracted the virus at these centres and came in contact with Maharashtra returnees, the administration is taking measures to improve the system. Akhtar said they have now taken appropriate steps. Dr Sachidanand too said there is a need to ensure proper quarantining to avoid local transmission.