Soon after March 8, when the first Covid-19 case was reported in Karnataka, the state won accolades for its handling of the pandemic. But after May 4, when lockdown restrictions started being lifted in phases, the cases rose sharply.
Lately, however, the curve seems to have flattened with all parameters showing such trends.
But experts warn that the administration should not be complacent as Delhi and Kerala, which had seen a dip, are seeing second and third waves with a spike in Covid cases.
While it took 65 days for the state to reach the first 1,000 cases, every next 1,000 cases took lesser duration — seeing a whopping 10,947 additional cases in a single day on October 7 when the state tally touched 6,68,652.
In 258 days, since the first case in the state (Whitefield in Bengaluru, March 8), Karnataka has 8,69,561 cases and 11,621 deaths as on November 20.
Though handling the pandemic was a learning curve for the state government from March to June, the situation has improved with people also being more alert.
Besides, the state has increased the number of tests conducted. So far 99,81,137 tests were conducted, with 1,21,612 tests on November 20 alone.
“When the number of RT-PCR tests increases, cases should go up if the virus is prevalent. In Karnataka, the share of RT-PCR has gone up to nearly 80%, but the number of cases has dropped dramatically. It’s good news. Hope the pattern continues and active cases drop below 10,000 in the coming days,” said Sanjeev Mysore, convenor, Jeevan Raksha, an initiative of Proxima Consulting that analyses Covid trends across India.
The state has been seeing a much-reduced 1,000-plus cases added each day from November 16 onwards, while the mortality rate dropped from 2.08% on July 20 to 1.33% on November 20.
The positivity rate dropped from its highest at 12.54 % on September 27 to 8.71% on Friday.
The recovery rate improved from a low 35.29% on July 20 to 95.81% on November 20, with the highest single-day discharge of 13,550 on October 22. The New Sunday Express takes a look:
Taking the brunt of the pandemic in Karnataka, Bengaluru Urban has lately shown a declining trend in new cases, active cases and deaths. Active cases saw a negative growth rate in November, reducing from 34,459 on October 31 to 17,663 on November 20.
“Up to 928 people died in the first 20 days of October against 178 in the first 20 days of November. Testing also increased from around 8.5 lakh in the first 20 days of October to nine lakh in the first 20 days of November,” said Sanjeev Mysore.
As opposed to 80,179 cases added between October 1 and 20, only 21,951 new cases were added between November 1 and 19.
The Gross Test Positivity rate also declined from 9.42% in the same period in October, to 2.34% in the corresponding period in November. The recovery rate shot up from 75.06% on October 11 to 93.99% on November 20.
“This is nothing short of a miracle. Bengaluru is close to breaking the chain but this does not mean we become complacent, as that may lead to a Delhi-like situation,” Sanjeev said.
Kalaburagi recorded the country’s first Covid death on March 12 when a 76-year-old man died. Now, the district has not reported a single fatality over the last one week.
The district saw a lot of migrant workers moving in when the lockdown was imposed and many of them returning to work when the restrictions were lifted.
District Health Officer Dr Rajashekar Mali said, “We did not compromis on testing. To break the chain, we worked on identifying primary contacts and keeping them in home isolation.”
Mysuru had the second-highest active cases in the state, besides registering the highest mortality rate. But there has been a big turnaround in the last month. The district saw a remarkable improvement in discharges, amid Dasara and Deepavali.
Active cases dropped by over 90% in just one month giving hope of Covid curve flattening. On October 17 (Dasara inaugural day), the active case count was 7,246, while on November 19 it was 714 registering over 90% drop in just one month.
Of the total 49,751 cases reported, 48,053 have been discharged.
“As we had the maximum mortality rate in the state, we couldn’t take any chances. We took all necessary measures,” said Deputy Commissioner Rohini Sindhuri.
The pandemic, while brought under control early on in the district, went out of hand when cases erupted among the workforce of JSW Steel at Toranagallu.
Even now, the district stands at the third position after Bengaluru and Mysuru. But the severity has declined.
Daily positive and active cases are declining, while the recovery rate is high. DHO Dr Janardhan said, “As of now, the pandemic is under control. Of course, there is fear of a second wave. But the administration is prepared.”
The Sira Assembly constituency which went to the bypoll on November 3 did not report a surge in cases. In a 10-day drive, only 175 of 20,000 people tested positive despite people taking part in political rallies and events.
“We are proud that we started a Covid special ward and ICU. We treated positive cases successfully,” said Dr Gireesh Kumar CG, administrative assistant, Siddaganga Hospital and Research Centre.
Now the hospital has no patients in the Covid ward and a few in the ICU. The Tumakuru Covid centre too is on the verge of closure as asymptotic patients have opted for home quarantine.
The positivity rate, which was 15% a month ago with an average of 200 cases per day has fallen to 7% with an average of 65 cases daily.
“I don’t think there will be a second wave as the trend is on the decline,” said DHO Dr M B Nagendrappa.
The positivity rate, which stood at 12.5% in mid-July, declined to 11.5% in August, 9.5% in September, 7.5% in October, and is now at 2.2%.
Unlike other areas, the spread of Covid was sporadic in the district. Consistent and continuous surveillance and effective contact tracing helped control the disease.
Now, daily addition of cases range from 15 to 28. Mortality rate, in the last 15 days, has come down to 0.9%. District Surveillance Officer Dr G D Raghavan said the district had a peak of 3,883 active cases in mid-September and by its end, 1,111 discharges took place in a single day which led to a decrease in numbers.
After almost two months, the daily Covid cases in the district came down to double digits on October 28 with 99 new cases reported.
The highest single-day spike of 456 cases was on September 18. Since then, new positive cases per day have not crossed 100, except on November 3 (123 cases). On November 9, the district saw the lowest positive cases of 18.
On the same day, active cases also came down to 871 -- below 1,000 after months. The district stood third in the state with a death rate of 2.24% after Dharwad and Bidar till October 26.
DHO Ramachandra Bayari said it was because of patients from across the state and many not getting ICUs. The positivity rate, which had peaked to 28% in August, is now 5%.
Active cases have fallen below 400 in past week, and on Thursday, it was 391. The beds reserved for Covid at the Belagavi Institute of Medical Sciences, have been reduced to 260 from 740.
DHO Dr H V Munyal said, “The numbers have reduced, which shows that people are following guidelines. We are collecting an average of 2,000 test samples every day. As there is a threat of a second wave, people must continue to follow norms.”
In the last three days, 214 cases have been reported. Of the total cases, 90% are from rural areas of Muddebihal and Basavana Bagewadi.
Among the reported, 99% are asymptomatic and rest are mild- severe. Deputy Commissioner P Sunil Kumar said, “Until last week the cases were dipping both in urban and rural areas. But in the last couple of days as testing increased the cases are surging in rural areas compared to urban areas. After the festival we increased testing to 1,000 samples per day, which is one of the reasons for the rise. However, the overall positivity rate is dropping.”
Inputs from: Ranjani Madhavan & Iffath Fathima; Prakash Samaga; Pramodkumar Vaidya; Karthik KK; Mahesh Goudar; Marx Tejaswi; G Subhash Chandra; Divya Cutinho; Hirehalli Devaraja