May 3, 2021 3:43:12 am
Punjab recorded 7,327 fresh Covid-19 cases and 157 deaths over a 24-hour period on Sunday – the highest single-day spike in cases and fatalities since the pandemic began. A total of 60,804 Covid-19 tests were conducted in that period.
The maximum number of cases was recorded in Ludhiana (1,404), SAS Nagar (1,045), Jalandhar (725), Patiala (602) and Bathinda (582). With this, the total infections in the state reached 3,85,270 and total active cases in Punjab stands at 60,108.
With 157 deaths, the toll in Punjab due to Covid-19 has reached 9,317. The maximum deaths occurred in Bhatinda (18), followed by Ludhiana (17) and Amritsar (15).
Before Sunday, the highest number of cases was recorded on May 1 (7,041), while the highest number of deaths was recorded on April 28 (142) – both dates falling under the second wave of the pandemic. In comparison, the highest single-day case count during the first wave was 2,896 on September 17, 2020 and the maximum number of deaths recorded in a single day was 106 on September 2, 2020.
In the second wave of the pandemic, however, the daily number of cases crossed the 3,000-mark in March and has continued to rise since then.
Punjab government’s health advisor and head of the Covid-19 expert committee Dr K K Talwar told The Indian Express that there was a need to study more variants of the virus and the approach needs to be more aggressive. “When we had analyzed the situation in the beginning of the second wave in March, 80-85% of the samples from Punjab which underwent genome sequencing were found having the UK variant which is believed to be less fatal but more infectious. However, with still a lot of deaths happening in Punjab, there’s an urgent need to look for more variants.
“More and more samples need to be studied and find out if any other variant has entered the state… double mutation, triple mutation.. it can be anything. More and more genome sequencing of the samples needs to be a regular feature now. We need a more aggressive approach to contain the virus in the state,” said Dr Talwar.
He said that it was a matter of major concern that rallies and protests were still ongoing in Punjab. “It is disappointing to see that farmers’ protests, rallies etc are still happening here…,” said Dr Talwar.
Projecting the peak to continue at least till May 10, Dr Talwar added, “Stricter curbs have been put in place so there should be some results but peak is expected to continue at least till May 10. We are hoping that situation will stabilize till then after touching a peak of 8,000 cases a day or so…”
He added that the immediate strategy should be to test, isolate and detect cases early to reduce fatalities. “Ludhiana, SAS Nagar (Mohali) and Bathinda are coming out as hotspots where immediate action is required,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, nodal officer, Covid-19, Punjab, said that the state’s Case Fatality Rate (CFR) stood at 2.41%. “Compared to the number of cases being reported daily (6,000-7,000), deaths are still low proportionally,” said Dr Bhaskar. “84% patients despite having severe symptoms are reporting very late to hospitals. This is the major reason for deaths in Punjab.”
Compared to national CFR of 1.10%, Punjab’s CFR stands at 2.41%.
Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) Hussan Lal said that the Expert Group set up for preparing the vaccination strategy for the 18-45 years age group has submitted its first report.
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