Kerala continues to reel under Covid
Kerala’s pandemic woes continue with the state, on Thursday, reporting 13,722 new cases of Covid-19 (a little over a third of the 45,892 cases the country recorded) with a test positivity rate (TPR) of 10.83%.
Experts have warned the government that things could get worse unless it imposes more restrictions on movement and activities, and then enforces them.
A central team visiting the state is also believed to have asked the state to do this, but state health minister Veena George on Thursday denied reports that the team expressed concern. “We have briefed them and they expressed satisfaction over our efforts,” she said.
Daily cases in the state have risen by almost 50% from last week, and its TPR has stayed above 10% for at least three weeks. The national TPR is around 2.5%.For the past 10 days at least, Kerala has been the only state in the country reporting more than 10,000 daily cases.
“The state has to increase tests drastically.A mere lockdown won’t do. It needs a grassroots level containment strategy,” said public health experts Dr SS Lal, who has previously worked with the World Health Organization (WHO).
What is worrying health experts is that the trajectory of infections in the state has shown no downward trend . “It seems the behaviour of the virus in Kerala is turning into a nightmare for experts. We need an in-depth study and we have to compare its case pattern with other states,” said another expert Dr NM Arun.
Experts blame the state’s low testing rate, its continued obsession with cheap antigen tests, and the recent assembly elections.
If there’s a bright spot it is that there are no signs of overcrowding or panic in hospitals. Some of the temporary first line treatment centres were closed down for want of patients and there is no shortage of oxygen also. Doctors say many patients prefer home isolation, but health workers say that has actually contributed to the spike on account of poor quarantining and social distancing practices. Health workers said that in rural areas many jump the home quarantine and infect family members.