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Covid Third Wave Hits Kerala Hard As State Records Highest Daily Spike Since 2020

A man looks out from a Covid ward in the Government Medical College Hospital in Manjeri, in the Malappuram district of Kerala. (Image: Reuters)

A man looks out from a Covid ward in the Government Medical College Hospital in Manjeri, in the Malappuram district of Kerala. (Image: Reuters)

The only silver lining is the fact that Kerala has 3 per cent of patients admitted to hospitals.

Kerala on Thursday recorded its highest-single day spike in coronavirus cases – 46,387 – since the pandemic broke out in March 2020, indicating that the third wave might have reached the state. Kerala, which has been one of the worst affected states in both the first and second waves, had last reported its highest daily tally in May 2021 at 43,529.

On Wednesday, Kerala Health Minister Veena George had said that the state is indeed seeing the third wave of the pandemic and that both the Omicron and Delta variants of the coronavirus were contributing to the spike in the daily tally. The state’s total Covid case tally is now 54,87,898, with 1,99,041 active cases. Kerala today reported 341 deaths, which took the total fatality to 51,501. The only silver lining amidst such grim numbers is that the state has just 3 per cent of patients admitted to hospitals.

Among the districts, Thiruvananthapuram saw 9,720 new cases, followed by Ernakulam with 9,605 and Kozhikode 4,016. Of those found infected today, 172 reached the state from outside, while 43,176 contracted the disease from their contacts. The source of infection of 2654 is yet to be traced. As many as 385 health workers are also among the infected.

New Covid Restrictions in Kerala

In the wake of the surge in cases, the state government today put into place fresh restrictions and decided that only essential services should be allowed on the next two Sundays – January 23 and 30. The government also decided to allow working women with children below the age of two, cancer patients and seriously ill persons to work from home.

Institutions, including businesses, malls, beaches and other tourist places like theme parks, have been directed to ensure no public gatherings. Further, Kerala decided to impose curbs in districts based on the number of people admitted to hospitals.

State health minister George had yesterday cautioned people against taking the Omicron variant lightly, saying that it has the potential to spread 5-6 times faster than the Delta variant. She also said that everyone must adhere to the Covid norms to help keep the pandemic in check.

Worst Yet to Come for India

As far as the national peak is concerned, experts said, India is yet to see the peak of the third wave, which may come by the end of this month. An SBI report stated that for the Omicron wave, the decline may be as swift as the rise. Some experts have also said that different cities and districts may have different peaks and there will be different waves in different parts of the country.

Speaking to CNN-News18, India’s top epidemiologist Dr Chandrakant Lahariya had said there would not be a traditional peak in this wave as we would witness a phased increase across the country with cases remaining at a high level for a few weeks before the decline.

“In the current wave and at an individual level, the peak has almost no meaning. People should be aware that if there is transmission in any setting, take precautions. Peak is only for epidemiological and planning purposes. The use of daily new Covid-19 cases is not the right indicator to track peak as the cases are coming down as the testing approach has been changed and asymptomatic are not being tested the way they were before January 10. Therefore, daily new Covid-19 cases data is not comparable,” he had said.

(With PTI inputs)

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first published:January 20, 2022, 22:03 IST