Strategy is to Prevent Infection Spread, Limit Deaths: Kerala Health Minister on Active Covid-19 Curve
File photo of Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja. (Credit: ANI/Twitter)
With over 7 lakh coronavirus cases, more than any other state across the country, Kerala is the worst hotspot in the country. However, the sharp rise in cases has not resulted in the number of deaths, the state has recorded one of the lowest death counts among the major states.
For the last 45 days, the cases continue to rise unabated here, it now has the highest number of active cases in the country, comprising almost 30 per cent of India’s total caseload.
With more than 8 lakh confirmed infections so far, Kerala has the fifth-highest caseload in the country. However, there are 11 states that have recorded more deaths- Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Punjab, that have three to five times fewer cases.
In an interview to Indian Express (IE), Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja said, “In other states, the cases went up and have started to come down, but that resulted in a higher number of deaths. Our main strategy has been to prevent the spread to very large numbers of people all at once, and limit the number of deaths."
As of Saturday, Kerala has recorded 3,305 Covid-19 deaths of which the state government claims the maximum deaths were caused due to co-morbidities. Kerala has a mortality rate of about 0.4 per cent, three and a half times lower than the national average- Maharashtra has a mortality rate of 2.6, while the figure for Delhi is 1.7.
In Kerala, the daily death toll never went beyond 35 and these are mostly elderly people or those with co-morbidities, Kerala’s achievement has been in limiting the deaths, Shailaja added.
Even though the number of deaths are in control, the coronavirus infection curve is still active in Kerala, even though all other severely affected states have started to show a downward trend.
Since September 1, the state has reported more than 5,500 cases every day, on 70 of these days, the state was the single biggest contributor of cases in the country. During the same time, daily Covid cases in Maharashtra came down from a peak of about 24,000 to about 3,000 cases per day, while in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka, which at one point were reporting over 10,000 cases a day, were now reporting cases in lower hundreds. However, the massive caseload in the state has still not been explained.
“That can surely be a possibility. Also, the fact that the state has received a large number of people from other countries. That might be adding to the susceptible population as well. But it is very difficult to explain what exactly is happening without looking at relevant data. There are other states which received large numbers of internal migrants, but never had such a prolonged surge,” Dr Shahid Jameel, director of the Trivedi School of Biosciences at Ashoka University told IE.