Covid-19 this week: Surge in daily tally of cases, driven by Kerala cases
India on Sunday recorded 45,083 new cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19), a day after the daily tally was clocked at 46,759, the highest single-day increase in nearly two months. These numbers indicated a trend that has been visible over the past week to anyone studying these numbers—a nationwide surge in cases driven primarily by a recent spike in Covid-19 cases in Kerala. According to the Union ministry of health and family welfare, the southern state now accounts for more than half of all the active Covid-19 cases in the country, followed closely by Maharashtra.
Here's a look at this week's Covid-19 numbers, with data sourced from the Union health ministry:
At the beginning of the week on Monday, 25,072 people were detected as Covid-19 positive, the lowest single-day count in 160 days, as per the health ministry. Tuesday, too, saw around new 25,000 cases, while the daily positivity remained below the 3 per cent mark. However, the low number of infections on Monday could also be attributed to the fewer number of tests carried out over the weekend. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 1,295,160 samples were tested for Covid-19 on Monday across the country. On Tuesday and Wednesday, authorities tested 1,647,526 and 1,792,755 samples.
On Wednesday, the health ministry's Covid-19 dashboard showed that India's daily tally of new coronavirus disease cases went up by nearly 12,000, the first major spike this week. On that day, the country recorded 37,593 new cases of Covid-19 over the 24 hours prior, while the daily deaths due to the coronavirus disease also saw a major rise. The health ministry’s update showed that 648 deaths were recorded on Wednesday, 294 more than that of Tuesday’s new fatalities when 354 patients had died. On Monday, 389 patients had died of the disease.
Then again on Thursday, the country's daily infection spike went up by over 20,000 as the health ministry's dashboard showed 46,164 new cases over the span of the past 24 hours. A recent surge in Kerala, it seemed, was behind the hike in nationwide numbers. According to official ministry data, Kerala alone accounted for over 68 per cent of India's total caseload on Thursday. Ernakulam and Thrissur were said to be the worst-affected district.
The state government said that the reason for the spike is the festival of Onam, which was celebrated last week. “We expected a hike after Onam," Kerala health minister Veena George said. "A special drive is on to increase testing and vaccination. Since seroprevalence is very low in Kerala we have to find the infected and quarantine them at the earliest.”
Another state which has been a cause of concern for the Centre is Maharashtra. The daily Covid-19 cases breached the 5,000 mark in Maharashtra - already the worst affected state - after a gap of five days on Wednesday. The Union health secretary, Rajesh Bhushan, has asked Kerala and Maharashtra to consider night curfews in areas with high infection numbers.
The situation showed a sporadic increase in the daily Covid-19 tally as the week progressed further. On Friday, the active caseload increased by 11,174 to reach 344,899, while the number increased by 14,876 to stand at 359,775 near the end of the week on Saturday, according to data released by the health ministry.
Finally, the daily spike in new cases came down to 45,083 on Sunday, taking the cumulative infection tally to 32,695,030. Presently, active cases constitute 1.13 per cent of total cases, an increase from the 1.06% yesterday; but with this update, India has now recorded more than 40,000 daily Covid-19 cases for four days straight.
Meanwhile, in a new record this week, India also administered on Friday more than 10 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in a single day across the nation for the first time since the start of the mass inoculation programme on January 16. Lauding those who got vaccinated as well as those who made the vaccine drive successful, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday night that crossing one crore in vaccination numbers was a "momentous feat" for the nation.