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‘Mutation has delayed the peak in Punjab’

The state government health adviser and Covid expert committee head Dr KK Talwar said the silver lining is that the West Bengal mutant, which appears to be behind the Covid crisis in Delhi, does not seem to have infected the state.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
April 26, 2021 4:23:38 am
‘Mutation has delayed the peak in Punjab’The Punjab government has ordered a Sunday lockdown across the state to curb the spread of COVID-19. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

An aggressive mutation is behind the unrelenting rise in the daily Covid case count in the state of Punjab, where the numbers were expected to peak in the first week of April.

The state government health adviser and Covid expert committee head Dr KK Talwar said the silver lining is that the West Bengal mutant, which appears to be behind the Covid crisis in Delhi, does not seem to have infected the state.

“Our projections have gone wrong due to mutations in the virus. This is a new story now. Otherwise, our curve was flattening. Still, we are not witnessing an exponential rise in cases. On March 25, we had 3,500 new cases every day and last Thursday, the case count stood at 5,500. Had the growth been exponential, the curve would have gone up by leaps and bounds. For instance, if we had 4,000 cases on a day, the number would have been 6,000 the next day, and 10,000 a day later.”

Earlier, the experts had predicted that the second wave would peak in Punjab in the first week of April. For a few days, government officials even started saying that the curve had plateaued. But as the daily case count shows no signs of dropping, health experts agree that the state is yet to peak.

Dr Talwar said experts had also not accounted for the high numbers in Delhi.

“The virus there has been spreading with a lightning speed. All the hospitals are overwhelmed. It appears to be a double mutation. It could be a West Bengal strain. We knew about the UK variant but this one is more aggressive. Experts require time to study it.”
Talwar also said the mutation may not have come to Punjab yet. “Otherwise the rise would have been 4,000 to 6,000 to 10,000 cases. That has not happened in our case. Our mutant is the UK strain, which is known,” he said.

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