KOCHI: The increased test positivity rate (TPR), steady rise in new Covid-19 cases and drop in recoveries all indicate that the state is moving from the first wave of the pandemic to the second without any break. Relaxations of curbs, religious festivals and two back-to-back elections are likely to have contributed in a large way to this. The TPR, which stood at 3.46% on March 23, nearly doubled to 6.20% on Sunday. According to experts, during the second wave, the infection rate is likely to be high, posing a challenge to the state’s Covid control plans.
Disturbingly, the pace of infection spread in the second phase of the pandemic is faster than the first wave.
“In other states, including Maharashtra and Karnataka, the number of fresh Covid-19 cases is rising steadily day by day. The same situation will be faced by our state too if our people are not vaccinated within the expected time frame.
The elections came as a dampener to the Covid fight, when our state was in the declining phase of the Covid curve. Utmost care must be taken by all to contain the spread. Vaccination and adopting precautions including wearing face masks are very important,” said a health official, who is also a member of the Covid task force in Kerala.
From March 30 in the state, the number of new cases reported daily has been more than the recoveries. This has led to a steady increase in the number of active cases. On March 30, there were 2,389 fresh cases, while the recoveries stood at 1,899. On April 3, while 2,541 fresh cases were reported, only 1,660 patients recovered. From 24,650 on March 30, the number of active cases rose to 27,893 on Sunday.
“Kerala saw the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic much later compared to other states. The number of cases peaked in and around August last year. However, since the second wave is spreading faster, there will be no respite now for the state to gear up for the battle. It is true that there has been no break from the virus here,” said Dr Gopi Kumar, ENT specialist based in Thrissur.
Over 32 lakh people have so far been vaccinated in the state and the government is gearing up to complete maximum vaccination of those above the age of 45 years this monthly. “Ninety-five per cent fatalities of Covid-19 have been patients above the age of 45. Therefore, it is important that maximum people in the age group of 45-60 get vaccinated,” said Dr Monu Varghese, pulmonologist based in Kochi.