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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Chandigarh: Youth emerge as ‘super-spreaders’

From 162 admissions in February to 309 in March, upward trend at PGI's Covid hospital becomes a cause for concern.

Written by Parul | Chandigarh |
March 26, 2021 8:41:50 am
Chandigarh COVID-19 news, Chandigarh coronavirus, Chandigarh active COVID-19 cases, Chandigarh vaccine, Chandigarh news, indian expressAt the Covid block of a government hospital. (Photo by Jaipal Singh)

Chandigarh reported 226 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, taking its total tally to 25,356 cases. In the last 25 days there has been an addition of 3,517 new cases. As a result, the number of active cases has seen a huge surge, with 430 reported on March 1 and 2,286 on March 25, with the active ratio at 9 per cent.

At PGI, which has its hands and beds full, the number of admissions to the Covid hospital have seen a steady increase, from 57 on March 9 to 91 on March 15, 93 on March 18 to 112 on March 20. There were 123 moderate to critically ill patients on March 22 and 127 on March 24, with 132 admitted on Thursday.

The city’s positivity rate is now 8.5 per cent, while the National Average is less than 5 per cent. On March 1 the UT had reported 69 new cases, with the number crossing the 100 mark on March 6, with 122 cases, and March 17 witnessing a surge with 201 new cases, and a high of 249 cases on March 24.

Expressing concern over the rising number of new positive cases, Prof Jagat Ram, Director, PGI, described the situation as serious. The new number of positive cases are a reminder of the peak last year, from August to almost November. At PGI’s Covid hospital, the number of admissions in February this year was 162 and has increased to 309 in March.

Prof Pankaj Malhotra, Department of Internal Medicine, PGI, who was given the responsibility of setting up the Covid hospital at the Institute last year, shares that last year from September to November, when the city saw a surge the weather conditions were the same as now. “While it is being said that the mutations or variants are not responsible for the rise in cases, I believe the variants are the cause of the super-spread and the situation is likely to persist for at least, a month,” reflected Dr Malhotra, adding that the rising numbers in PGI is distressing.

The doctor says he is at a loss when it comes to answering how we can check the spread of infection, control rising cases, and reduce the active ratio. “Masks, hand-washing, social distancing, we seem to have given up, and the results are for all to see. Young people are super-spreaders, and the seniors and the sick have to pay a price for their irresponsibility and suffer the consequences. Yes, testing helps, but if a person is positive, and yet does not isolate and is out and about, how does the testing help?” he asked.

To break the chain of infection, vaccination for all above the age of 18 must be started as soon as possible, he said, adding that data shows it’s the only way to contain the spread and also bring down the rate of infection and deaths. “My appeal to all is take the onus of getting vaccinated, tested and not spreading infection in case you have tested positive,” he stated.

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