The alarming surge in Covid-19 cases in Kerala has led health experts to link the increase with possible beginning of the third wave of the pandemic in India, according to reports.
While the Centre and the State government has not officially termed the surge in Kerala to the third wave, a routine health ministry briefing on Tuesday stated that 49.85 per cent of total cases of Covid-19 cases in the country were reported in Kerala last week.
The number of positive cases has jumped from an average of 12,000-14,000 cases per day from June 4 till July end to over 22,000 cases. Kerala on Tuesday reported 23,676 fresh Covid cases pushing the total infection count to 34.49 lakh. On Monday, the state had reported 13,984 cases after recording more than 20,000 cases for six consecutive days, with the Total Positivity Rate (TPR) hitting over 12 per cent.
“The surge indicates that it may be the beginning of the third wave and we need to be careful now," public health expert and epidemiologist Dr Raman Kutty told the Times of India. “We have a large susceptible population and the government needs to come up with a long-term strategy to deal with new Covid waves,” she added.
Former state epidemiologist, Dr A Sukumaran, said “It is the general principle of any viral infection that there may be multiple waves when we have a susceptible population. Kerala will also see many Covid waves before the cases actually start subsiding.”
However, Kerala’s covid-19 surge is different from the nation’s average, Dr Rajeev Jayadevan, vice-chairman, research cell, IMA (Kerala state). “Unlike small nations, waves do not occur uniformly in a large country due to variation in factors such as travel, population density, socio-economic conditions, geography, weather, vaccination, literacy, sero-prevalence, regional penetration of misinformation, quality of science communication, healthcare infrastructure and compliance with safe pandemic behaviour,” he said.
In a statement made earlier in the day, Niti Aayog Member (Health) VK Paul said a team comprising of health experts sent by the Centre visited Mallapuram in Kerala where the Total Positivity Rate (TPR) is over 17 per cent. “Containment efforts need to be strengthened", he said.
The government has suggested three key measures to control infections: increase active surveillance, strict contact tracing, and improve home isolation guidelines.