Punjab reported its first case of Covid on March 9 and by the month-end, a total of 41 cases had been reported with four deaths. The case fatality rate (CFR) was 9.75%. By April-end these numbers grew to 480 cases with 10 deaths. However, CFR had come down to 2%. As Punjab is about to complete six months of its fight against coronavirus, monthly figures reveal that the curve never flattened. It is rising exponentially. While there were 16,119 cases and 386 deaths on July 31, the tally went up to 53,992 cases and 1,453 deaths on August 31, registering a 234% increase in the number of total cases.
Cases have been increasing since March. On March 31, there were 41 cases which shot up to 480 on April 30 — a more than 11-time increase. By May 31, the number of cases went up to 2,263 and deaths mounted to 45, registering a spike of 371% in the number of cases. Then an increase of 146% was witnessed when the total cases went up to 5,568 on June 30, with death toll touching 144. The tally of cases rose to 16,119 by July 31 with 386 deaths — an increase of 189% in the total number of cases.
So the cases have been increasing from the beginning by more than 100% every month. As testing capacity is being gradually increased, now the count of asymptomatic cases is coming down — it was 80% till Mid-June but now asymptomatic cases are 71.9%. “We are increasing testing and we need to take it to 30,000 a day. As testing will increase, the number of cases will also increase, but we need to detect them in early stages. Hence, enhanced testing is a must,” said Hussan Lal, Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare).
The testing capacity too is witnessing a surge. From 80 tests a day, the testing capacity increased to 1,050 tests a day by April 30 and later to 6,000 tests per day by May 30 and further to 9,000 tests a day by June 30. The maximum tests conducted so far were on August 26 — 23,724 — while a total of 21,449 samples were taken on September 3.
Cases per lakh population too are rising which has become a cause for concern. Cases per lakh were 141.75 on August 22 while on September 3, they reached 216.31 .
The Punjab government has been taking measures to contain the infection right from the beginning. It had launched COVA Punjab app on March 9 — the day the first case was reported in the state. This app has geotagging and geofencing features and 11 states had also requested Punjab for access to the app. This app has over 53 lakh downloads, according to the Covid status report of the Punjab government.
The Punjab government has stated that they have even increased bed capacity in government and private hospitals. Apart from doctors under Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) and specialists, they have also recruited over 6,000 health workers, including doctors, on a temporary basis only for Covid duties. Considering the pace of the corona infection, Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Varinder Sharma has advised people to avoid attending any wedding or other functions this month.
In a press statement, Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh states that nobody knew how long the pandemic would last, Captain Amarinder stressed the need to be prepared for a tough and long-drawn battle. He assured that despite the financial crunch, all necessary funds would be made available by his government to fight the Covid pandemic in the state.
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