Punjab’s COVID-19 tally and death toll has doubled in the last 16 days — with over 15,000 new cases and 426 deaths being recorded since August 1.
While the state had 16,119 cases and 386 deaths till July 31 (since March when the pandemic surfaced), the next 16 days showed a drastic surge, adding another 15,087 new cases and 426 deaths, taking the tally to 31,206 cases and 812 deaths. The case fatality rate (CFR) has also increased from 2.3 on July 31 to 2.6 on August 16.
The most affected districts are Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Patiala.
Maximum cases in Ludhiana
The maximum load is coming from the most thickly populated district, Ludhiana, where cases have increased from 3,211 to 6,874 while deaths have increased from 89 on July 31 to 242 on August 16 — an increase of 3663 new cases and 153 new deaths. Sunday reported the maximum deaths in Ludhiana in the past 24 hours, 15, of which one patient was 52 years of age while the rest were above 60.
The CFR of Ludhiana has also increased from 2.77 to 3.52 in 16 days. In Ludhiana, the maximum load is with private hospitals as out of 787 private beds in isolation ward, 628 are occupied while only 163 isolation beds are occupied in government facilities out of 450. In Punjab, as of Sunday, 35 patients were on ventilators out of which 17 are in Ludhiana alone.
Jalandhar had 2,249 on July 31 with 53 deaths and now has 3,960 with 100 deaths (see box for other districts). Amritsar is the only one among the four worst-affected districts of Punjab where CFR decreased from 4.2% on July 31 to 3.9 % on August 16.
Asked why cases are spiraling, Dr Bishav Mohan, member of the Covid-19 task force team of Punjab, said, “Patients are reporting to hospitals very late after trying to medicate at home. Hence, deaths are increasing.”
‘People loitering as if there is no coronavirus’
Dr Rajesh Bagga, civil surgeon, Ludhiana, said, “I often see people standing around rehris eating kulfis, chhole kulche as if there is no coronavirus. We are appealing them repeatedly to go out for necessary work only and avoid socialising or loitering around till the time curve flattens. However, it seems that Ludhiana is not listening at all and hence positive cases are coming in every day.”
Additional Chief Secretary Anurag Aggarwal had earlier stated that deaths should not increase and focus should be on decreasing the death rate. On Friday, Principal Secretary Hussan Lal had also visited Ludhiana to take stock of the situation. He is state nodal officer of Covid cases for Ludhiana, Patiala, Amritsar and Jalandhar.
Ludhiana DC in his Sunday appeal said, “Ludhiana has reported 282 new cases and 18 deaths of which 15 are from Ludhiana and the rest 3 are patients of other districts or even outside Punjab. People should stay indoors and come out only if it is needed.”
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