BENGALURU: The maximum concentration of the five Covid variants Alpha, Delta, Delta-plus, Kappa and Beta has occurred in five districts of Karnataka, according to the data available till July 30, which was shared by the Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee.
These districts include Bengaluru Urban with 1,035 cases of variants, Vijayapura with 102, Dakshina Kannada with 69, Udupi with 41 and Hassan 36.
Experts in the State Genomic Surveillance Committee said that the reason for the prevalence could be threefold: biological, socio-economic and Covid-appropriate behaviour. In immunocompromised and comorbid patients, the virus uses the machinery of human cells and the immune system to transform itself and get stronger, thereby mutating in ‘Patient zero’.
791 cases of Delta variant found in Bengaluru
“This biological aspect pertains to the origin of the variant and we need to identify ‘Patient zero’ to know the movement of the virus among people from there onwards. The next is socio-economic factor, which affects the spread of the variant. For instance, Bengaluru Urban and Dakshina Kannada are active socio-economic zones. Some districts such as Hassan may not be active in that sense. But the third aspect of lack of Covid-appropriate behaviour may lead to the spread of the variant,” said Dr Vishal Rao, member of the Covid-19 Genomic Surveillance Committee and Regional Director - Head Neck Surgical Oncology and Associate Dean - Centre of Academics and Research HCG Cancer Centre.
Of the 1,035 patients in Bengaluru, 791 have the Delta variant, 143 have Kappa, 99 have Alpha and two the Delta-plus variant. Vijayapura, which stands second, has 94 cases of Delta variant, 7 of Kappa and 1 of Alpha. “The variants can be a natural reflection of the number of cases in the region. But if they are not dominating beyond their proportion, we cannot say which variant has had more impact,” said Prof Satyajit Mayor, also a member of the Genomic Surveillance Committee, and director, National Centre for Biological Sciences. “This data is based on variants detected a couple of weeks ago. We need to look at the proportion of the variants. If we notice an increase or decrease, it tells you if one variant is dominating. This has to be observed over longer periods to know if the current increase is being caused by any particular variant. Low vaccination coverage, less seropositivity and lack of Covid norms will also lead to an increase in the number of variant cases,” Prof Mayor said. Dakshina Kannada, which has the highest test positivity rate in the last seven days at 4.42%, has 48 cases of the Delta variant, 19 of Alpha and two of Beta.
Two teams to check Kerala, Maharashtra passengers
BBMP Special Commissioner has directed the Joint Commissioners to form two teams and station them at all bus and railway stations under their jurisdiction to check passengers arriving from Maharashtra and Kerala. While one team will check the RT-PCR reports of the passengers, the other team will collect their swab samples.
No public Ganesh Utsav in Belagavi
The public celebration of Ganesh Utsav has been prohibited in Belagavi as Maharashtra is seeing a spike in Covid cases over the last few days. DC MG Hiremath on Sunday announced that over a hundred Ganesh Utsav Mandals in Belagavi city should not put up pandals or install large idols in public places to celebrate the festival, which falls on September 10. The guidelines have come early as Ganesha Mandals start preparations from now.
State may see second wave-like situation
Karnataka is very close to a third wave as the effective Covid reproductive number is at 0.85. The moment it touches 1, there will be an outbreak that could be similar or worse than the Covid second wave, warned renowned epidemiologist Dr Giridhara Babu. He also said the State should increase testing, especially in rural areas.