40 Days of Polls: 22 Times Rise in WB COVID Cases, 14 Times in TN
Between 1 March-11 April, the daily new cases also rose by 34 times in Puducherry and 10.6 times in Assam.
As India grapples with a ferocious second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, visuals from across the four states and one Union territory conducting Assembly elections have shown an open disregard towards COVID-appropriate behaviour by political leaders and crowds alike, including the lack of physical distancing and openly flouting laws.
Rallies and roadshows held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee and others across the four states and one Union territory, drawing crowds of thousands, along with the functioning of political and election-related bureaucratic activities have led to a steep rise in cases in the states that held elections.
While elections in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, and Puducherry have concluded, four out of the eight phases of the elections in West Bengal are still pending.
The Election Commission of India declared the dates of polling on 26 February, kicking-off massive political, bureaucratic, and electoral activities in the concerned states.
Amid the second wave, here’s analysing the steep rise in 40 days in the number of daily COVID-19 cases being registered between 1 March and 11 April.
West Bengal: 22x Rise in Daily New Cases
The state of West Bengal, where Assembly elections are being held in eight phases is seeing multiple rallies and roadshows being held by leaders across parties, including PM Modi.
On 1 March, the state recorded just 198 news cases, a figure which rose to 4,398 on 11 April.
This indicates a 22 times or 2,221% rise in the number of new cases being recorded on a daily basis.
On 11 April, the number of confirmed cases in the state was at 6,14,896, with active caseload being 23,981. There have been 80, 515 who recovered, and 10,400 people who lost their lives.
Kolkata is the worst-affected district, with 7,150 active cases. North 24 Parganas is the second-most affected, followed by Howrah, South 24 Parganas and Birbhum district. South 24 Parganas, Howrah had voting in the fourth phase on 10 April, which accounts for the surge in cases.
There are still four more election phases to go for West Bengal, and with an overwhelmed healthcare system, and a rapid surge in cases, it is yet to be seen how the Mamata Banerjee-led government will handle the spike.
Tamil Nadu: 14x Rise in Daily New Cases
The Union health ministry has red-flagged Tamil Nadu as one among the 12 states and Union territories that is witnessing a surge in COVID infection.
Soon after the elections were declared, the number of cases registered in a single day on 1 March was 474, while on 11 April, the figure rose to 6,618.
This indicates a 14 times or 1,396% rise in the number of cases being recorded on a daily basis.
As of 12 April, Tamil Nadu witnessed 9,33,434 confirmed cases, 41,955 active cases, 8,78,571 recovered and 12,908 people lost their life to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Chennai is the worst-affected district in the state with 15,764 active cases on 11 April. Coimbatore, Chengalpattu, Thiruvallur, and Tiruchirappalli follow suit as the four other worst-affected districts.
Kerala: 3.6x Rise in Daily New Cases
While Kerala recorded 1,938 new cases on 1 March, the number of cases recorded in a single day on 11 April was 6,986.
This indicates a 3.6 times or 360% rise in the number of new cases registered on a daily basis.
Ernakulam on 11 April, showed the most number of active cases with 5,906 cases. Kozhikode, Kannur, Thiruvanthapuram, and Kasaragod are next in line in terms of maximum active cases.
Assam: 10.6x Rise in Daily New Cases
Assam on 1 March recorded just 33 new cases across the state, while it recorded 352 new cases on 11 April.
This indicates a 10.6 times or 1,066% rise in the number of cases registered on a daily basis.
Puducherry: 34x Rise in Daily New Cases
The Union territory of Puducherry on 1 March saw just nine new cases. After the single-phase election last week, 306 new cases were recorded on 11 April, indicating a 34 times or 3,400% rise in the number of new cases recorded daily.
Amid the surge, Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has announced a night curfew from 10 April.
Vaccine, Testing Situation in Election States
The state has administered 37,15,293 vaccine doses so far, however, the uptake to it is still low. The health department said it will carry out several initiatives to raise awareness around vaccination.
Unlike other states, there is no shortage of vaccine doses, but a surplus. On average, RGGGH and Government Medical College Hospital, Omandurar Estate, vaccinate up to 500 persons a day but in many cities, districts and rural parts, only 25 to 40 people are vaccinated.
The Tamil Nadu government has been testing over 80,000 samples everyday. There are 260 COVID-19 testing facilities in the state, of which 69 are government facilities and 191 are private centres.
With the Assembly elections now over, the state government on 8 April, announced a slew of restrictions. These rules will remain in place till 30 April.
Kerala has administered 48,30,699 vaccine doses so far. The government has launched a ‘Crush the Curve’ campaign, which is being threatened with a shortage of vaccines in the state.
Post election day on 6 April, the state has increased daily vaccine shots to around 2 lakh doses, and as of 11 April, has a little above 9 lakh doses left, as per The New Indian Express.
This has resulted in the suspension of vaccination campaigns in the state, until the arrival of fresh stock. The regional vaccine centre in Thiruvananthapuram had just 4,500 doses on 10 April.
West Bengal is reporting a severe shortage of vaccines at various medical establishments. The Centre has been informed of the shortage and will be allocating 4 lakh vaccines to the state on Monday, 12 April, as per PTI.
Hospitals in the state have stopped the COVID drive, or are doing minimal doses with limited stock at hand, added the report. So far, till 12 April, West Bengal administered 79,82,640 shots.
Assam has administered 14,98,729 vaccine doses so far. According to news portal East Mojo, Assam is experiencing a depleting stock of COVID vaccines, with enough for just two more days. A health officer of Tinsukia, Dr Romen Sonowal acknowledged that there are only up to 366 vials of vaccines available in the entire Tinsukia district.
The state is vaccinating 3,000 people per day. The Centre was to reportedly supply more vaccines after Bihu. Several vaccination centres are being told to only administer the second shot of the vaccine, and not entertain first timers, added the report.
So far, 1,03,546 vaccination doses have been administered, and Puducherry, on 15 March witnessed the highest participation in inoculation. Puducherry district has the most cases with 1,686 active cases, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam follow suit.
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