With a significant increase in new COVID cases, Kerala has taken the national average of daily caseload up for the first time in two months. Even as the country’s daily COVID count halved in the last one month, the state has been recording a steady 11,000 to 13,000 cases every day.
Nearly every other state has been recording a decline in daily case count, according to a report in The Indian Express. The state breached the 15,000 mark twice this week on July 6 and 7. On Thursday, the state reported 13,772 fresh cases. The test positivity rate was at a high 10.83 percent.
According to the report, in a way, the first wave never ended in Kerala as the state continued to record 5,000-6,000 cases every day in January 2021, when even Maharashtra’s daily count fell to 2,000. A similar scenario seems to be playing out now.
Although Kerala’s new caseload has been higher, the relatively fewer deaths can be attributed to the state’s better handling of the pandemic. On the other hand, the low fatality ratio of 0.47, against the country’s average of 1.32, can partly be because of the large number of cases.
Higher case count can also be partly attributed to better reporting, proven by serosurveys. The last national serosurvey showed that for every infection that is detected, about 25 go unreported. A similar survey in Kerala earlier this year found only about five unreported infections for every reported case.
“When a person tests positive, we test all close contacts of that person, family members, etc. This kind of targeted testing is keeping the test positivity rate high,” the reported quoted Veena George, Kerala’s new Health Minister.
George had also said that the state always ensured that the total caseload always remained within the capacity of its health infrastructure.
In the first meeting with new ministers after the cabinet reshuffle, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concerns over the persistently high cases from Kerala and Maharashtra. He stressed that there should be no space for carelessness or complacency, a source told PTI.