COVID-19 in India: Which States Are Seeing a Rise in Cases Again?
The Centre has asked 5 states to closely watch their COVID caseload and take pre-emptive action to curb its rise.
After a spell of COVID laying low in the country, some states in India are once again seeing a gradual climb in daily COVID cases.
Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan, in a recent press event called on Delhi, Haryana, Kerala, Maharashtra and Mizoram to keep a close watch on their caseload and to take necessary measures to curb a spike in COVID cases.
On 12 April, Delhi recorded over 200 cases for the first time in over a month. The very next day saw nearly a twofold rise with 299 new cases being reported.
This, in the backdrop of some countries in Asia and Europe, including our neighbour, China, seeing record high cases since the beginning of the pandemic, has prompted health officials to stand on guard.
China, where many major cities are under a stringent lockdown, is still reeling for the sudden surge in cases thanks to Omicron and its subvariants.
Experts have, however, reiterated that high infections aren't necessarily a cause for worry as deaths and severe illnesses remain low.
The Situation in India: What the Data Says
In India, a total of 1,088 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours (13 April) and the daily positivity rate stands at 0.25 percent. This after the country recorded less than a thousand cases for two consecutive days.
According to experts, however, the true number of cases are likely to be much higher considering many people are using home testing kits and positive causes are going undetected or unreported.
Delhi, on Wednesday 13 April, saw nearly a 50 percent spike in new cases (299 cases) compared to the previous day (202 cases) with a positivity rate of 2.49 percent. However, no new deaths were recorded.
Kerala on Tuesday, 12 April, reported 298 new cases, twice as high as Monday when 196 new cases were recorded. It must be noted, though, that barring Monday, Kerala consistently saw over 200 cases per day last week.
Haryana on the other hand saw nearly a three-fold spike in COVID cases on Tuesday as compared to the previous day.
Although this week cases in the state are up by 50 percent, no new deaths were reported all week.
Maharashtra, after a couple of days of recording less than 100 new cases, on Wednesday reported 124 new cases and 1 death. There are currently 724 active cases in the state.
Mizoram saw a fall in new cases on Wednesday, with 91 people testing positive, as compared to the 149 cases of the previous day. At the same time, the state continues to have a positivity rate of 8 percent. No new deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.
In a press conference earlier this week, Karnataka Health Minister, K. Sudhakar, predicted that a fourth wave in India will start between June-July.
However, speaking to FIT in March, Virologist Dr Shahid Jameel said it's futile to try and fit the trajectory of COVID cases in the country into waves now.
"There will be sporadic surges happening in different places, and different times."Dr Shahid jameel
"I think that the problem is that in media it is very binary. It's either fourth wave or nothing. I don't see it like that," he added.
Omicron, BA.2 and XE
BA.2 is a subvariant of the previously dominant Omicron, along with BA.1 which was the previously dominant Omicron strain.
All subvariants of Omicron and XE are being tracked under the umbrella of Omicron by the WHO and are not being treated as separate variants. This also means that they are all 'variants of concern' like Omicron.
Speaking to FIT last week, virologist Dr Gagandeep Kang explained that although XE is more transmissible than BA.1 and BA.2, it doesn't seem to be more dangerous.
"We were worried about BA.2, but it didn't cause more serious disease than BA.1. XE doesnt cause more serious disease than BA.1 or BA.2. Does a 10 percent faster spread really matter? In a vaccinated population, no."Dr Gagandeep Kang, Virologist
There isn't much clarity on exactly how widespread the subvariants of Omicron, especially BA.2 is in India, but experts suggest it is unlikely to cause a rise in severe illnesses and deaths even as new infections inch up.
Dr Kang went on to say that all the Omicron subvariants are infecting vaccinated people, but even so, "the higher rates of infection have not translated into higher cases of severe illnesses and deaths."
10 April onward, India started allowing precautionary doses to everyone over the age of 18 irrespective of comorbidities. Those who wish to take a third precautionary dose of the COVID vaccine (the same one as the primary doses) can do so from a private health clinic.
The Union Health Secretary reiterated the importance of keeping up COVID appropriate behaviour and getting vaccinated, adding that the states should continue to keep up tracking and testing.
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