CHENNAI: Even as Covid-19 cases in Tamil Nadu has dipped to a huge extent in the last few weeks, the number of cases has stagnated or has been dipping at a very slow pace in about 10 districts, an analysis by Express found. Public health experts say this is a worrying trend and people must not let their guard down till the pandemic is completely behind us.
Districts like Thiruvannamalai, Pudukottai, Thoothuudi, Karur, Theni, Virudhunagar, Madurai, Thiruvarur, and Tiruchy reported stagnant or a slight increase in daily cases numbers as of July 2, compared to the previous week. In Thiruvannamalai, cases went from 151 to 174 from June 26 to July 2, while in Tiruchy, it rose from 198 on June 26 to 205 on June 30, and came down to 185 on July 2, indicating a stagnancy.
In this context, Health Minister Ma Subramanian too had said that the decline is erratic in some districts and the district administrations must keep the vigil on. In his letter to all District Collectors, Health Secretary Dr. J Radhakrishnan directed more focus on Covid prevention work, as the effect of lockdown relaxations may surface slowly only after a few days.
“Collectors of Kallakuruchi, Thanjavur, Madurai, Tiruvannamalai, Tirunelveli and other districts where there is marginal increase in cases or a stagnant trend, have been asked to check the reasons for it and act immediately,” he said. Radhakrishnan also added that effective workplace interventions and checkups of clusters are important. “While overall figures continue to show a decline, any localised increase in cases should not be left unattended,” he added.
While some districts report slower decline trends, overall test positivity data in Tamil Nadu indicates a decline. Express analysis revealed that the weekly test positivity rate has dipped from 4.6 per cent in June 17 to June 21, to 3.1 per cent in June 24 to 30. Public health experts said that the decline won’t be uniform in all districts due to multiple factors such as population density and environment. “Inter-district travel, continuous functioning of industries, erratic vaccine coverage and high population
density may be reasons for the slower decline,” said former Director of Public Health Dr K Kolandasamy.
Virologist Dr. Jacob John said that each district has unique features such as geography and industries. “There must be a district-wise analysis on this stagnancy. People must not lower their guard and Covid-appropriate behaviour must be followed for now. The vaccination drive must be boosted in the district which still report high number of cases,” he added.