Covid-19 cases are on the rise again in India

Covid-19 cases are on the rise again; India records nearly 50,000 cases on October 29

Kerala, Delhi and West Bengal are emerging as fresh hotspots and are causes for concern

Representative image. Credit: AFP Photo

India’s Covid-19 numbers have begun to rise again for the past two days after dipping to a low of 36,000 plus with Kerala, Delhi and West Bengal emerging as the new trouble spots where the infection has spiralled fast.

Top central government officials on Thursday reviewed the Covid-19 situation with these three states, which had been advised to gear up the “testing, tracking and treatment’ strategy during the festival season besides giving a thrust to public awareness and enforcement of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.

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In the last 24 hours, there were 49,881 new infections in the country whereas 43,893 cases were recorded on October 28. India registered its lowest Covid-19 numbers in the recent months on Oct 27 with 36,470 new cases, as per the Union Health Ministry.

Incidentally, on the same day, the number of new Covid-19 deaths also dropped below the 500 mark after several weeks. The relief, however, was a brief one as the daily toll crossed 500 on the very next day. On Thursday, the official record shows 517 Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours.

More than 58% of these deaths occur in five states – Maharashtra, West Bengal, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Delhi. Similarly, nearly 57% of the new cases were concentrated in Kerala, Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal and Karnataka.

“The bad news is that West Bengal, Kerala and Delhi all have R-values more than one. And Delhi has a whopping 1.13,” Sitabhra Sinha, a scientist at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai who is tracking the epidemic from the beginning with his model, told DH.

R is the number of persons one infected person can spread the infection to. An R-value of 1.9 means that 10 infected persons will on average cause 19 new infections. The R-value will be much below one for the nation as well as for individual states when the epidemic will subside.

The most alarming rise is being seen in Delhi that witnessed nearly 46% increase in the new cases over the past four weeks, and 9% jump in the positivity rate in the same period.

The rising cases were due to the social gatherings during the festivities, deteriorating air quality, increasing incidences of respiratory disorders and clusters of positive cases at workplaces, said a Health Ministry official.

In West Bengal, the average daily cases have recorded 23% increase over the last four weeks while there is 1% increase in the positivity rate. In the same period, the average daily cases have recorded an 11% increase in Kerala.

Since the increase in new cases due to festivities was a matter of grave concern, the states had been suggested to ramp up the awareness practices and promote mask-wearing with more rigour, the official said.