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Explained: Why Bihar is anxious about its positivity rates for August

The comparison of June and July figures, both in terms of number of Covid cases and its positivity rates, tell the Bihar surge story.

Written by Santosh Singh , Edited by Explained Desk | Patna | Updated: August 9, 2020 10:28:54 am
Bihar, Bihar Coronavirus cases, Bihar Covid cases, Bihar positivity rate, coronavirus news, Indian Express A 50-bed dedicated COVID-19 Care Centre prepared at the Gandhi Maidan Indoor Stadium in Gaya, Monday, July 27, 2020. (PTI Photo)

On July 1, Bihar had 10,075 positive cases. The numbers shot up to 50,987 on July 31. The average positivity rate for the month was 12.8 per cent with the month reporting 40,912 cases out of 3,19,83 samples getting tested.

This was in comparison with 4.1 per cent positivity rate for June, when 5,872 cases were reported from 1,42,800 samples.

The comparison of June and July figures, both in terms of number of Covid cases and its positivity rates, tell the Bihar surge story.

As Bihar ramps up on testing, the surge is also on the rise. There were 71,794 total cases in the state on August 7, recording over 20,000 new cases in exactly a week. The state has been testing over 50,000 samples in recent days. Though it is too early to assess, the positivity percentage in the first few days of August has been quite high, ranging from 4.26 on August 5 to a high of 9.93 per cent on August 1.

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Ground reports suggest that adequate testing needs to be done on campaign mode, even at the block level. But because of the long wait for testing, caused by the lack of kits, several people with mild symptoms are not opting for tests.

On the other hand, as a Shekhpura health official concedes, only those with obvious symptoms are now being tested. “Unless a district gets to test 1,500 samples per day, real Covid figures would not emerge,” he says, adding that several villagers had not been coming for tests because they are frustrated at seeing long queues at primary healthcare centres and sub-division towns.

August and September could hold key to Bihar as the health department now seems to have woken up to the need for massive testing till block levels. Bihar health department officials say August would be a crucial month as it could give a clear indication of the longer trend.

As the health department is likely to touch 50,000 testing per day figure in a week, it is eager to assess positivity rate. “We saw an alarming 12.8 per cent positivity rate in July. If it is under 5 per cent by August end despite increased testing, one could think of flattening curve by mid-September. But it is too early to say. Next 10 days are crucial,” says a health department official.

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