A week in which the Covid-19 infection slowed further in West Bengal and the recovery rate kept up its upward trend and jumped to 77.78 per cent — the national rate on Sunday was 75.15 per cent — Dakshin Dinajpur in North Bengal was an outlier.
The pandemic took a turn for the worse in the district this week (August 17 to 23) as it added 999 cases, a 41% jump since last week, and saw its recovery rate slump over seven percentage points to 65.55 percent. It now has 1,120 active cases, the highest in the region, followed by Darjeeling (859 patients) and Malda (716 cases). The district also reported three fatalities in this period.
Last week, the situation was deemed stable in Dakshin Dinajpur as active cases did not shoot up due to a high recovery rate. The drastic change this week might serve as a cautionary tale for its neighbouring districts of Malda and Uttar Dinajpur about the fragility of the gains being made from time to time during the pandemic. The situation this week was stable in both the districts as their active cases declined.
The statewide picture was rosier despite more than 3,000 cases being added daily throughout as recoveries also picked up. There were 22,372 new cases this week, amounting to an average infection growth rate of 2.74 per cent. This figure, which has now declined for five consecutive weeks, was 3.13 per cent the week before.
The doubling rate of infection — calculated over seven-day average growth — slowed down further from 22.5 days to 25.5 days. Over a month ago, this was 12 days.
The health authorities reported 366 fatalities this week, marginally down from the 369 reported last week. All these improvements reflected in the pandemic epicentre in South Bengal, whose share of the statewide load declined from 60 per cent to 55.4 per cent. Kolkata, which is the heart of this infection hotbed along with North 24 Parganas, reported 525 fewer cases this week compared to the one before.
In fact, the capital city has reported fewer cases and deaths every week this month. This week, 104 deaths occurred in Kolkata, down from 122 the week before.
The situation remained grave in Purba Medinipur, another district in South Bengal where infection has risen alarmingly this month. The district reported 1,250 cases this week, up from 1,160 the week before. However, in a relief for authorities the discharge rate continued to remain high, rising from 61.41 per cent to 69.03 per cent.
A glimmer of hope was provided by Kalimpong district in North Bengal, where active cases dropped from 175 to 124. The district saw more recoveries than new cases.
The state, meanwhile, continued to improve its testing numbers, with a record 37,149 samples examined on Sunday. In total, 2,46,539 tests were conducted, which is almost 20 per cent higher than the week before. The test positivity rate, however, did not rise much. It was 8.89 per cent on Sunday, compared to 8.86 per cent the week before. The weekly positivity rate fell from 10.02 per cent to 9.07 per cent.
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