Another week ended on a dismal note for West Bengal as its caseload crossed the 30,000-mark to settle at 30,013, following a record addition of 1,560 infections in 24 hours. The state also registered 26 deaths, which pushed up the toll to 932.
The addition of cases on Sunday was the fourth straight 1,000-plus increase in daily infections, and the fifth consecutive highest single-day spike. This surge offset the 3,870 recoveries made during the week, and took the active caseload to 10,500, pushing it past 10,000 for the first time.
While the first 10,000 cases were recorded in 87 days, the second 10,000 cases were added in just 21 days, with the state crossing the 20,000 mark on July 3. The latest 10,000 cases were added in nine days.
During the week (July 6 to 12), the state reported a massive 7,887 cases, and 175 deaths, as the weekly average growth rate of infections increased by 1.06 percentage points to 5.09 per cent. The doubling rate of the infection — calculated over seven-day growth — sped up from 17.5 days the week before to 14 days.
Keeping with the established pattern, a bulk of the cases and deaths during the week were reported from Kolkata; its adjoining districts North 24 Parganas, Howrah and South 24 Parganas; and Hooghly. They reported 80 per cent of the infections and almost 90 per cent of the fatalities.
Apart from these five South Bengal districts, Malda and Darjeeling districts in North Bengal continued to witness an upswing in cases even as the infection picked up pace in Jalpaiguri district.
On Sunday, BJP MLA from Malda’s Baishnabnagar seat, Swadhin Kumar Sarkar, tested positive. He is undergoing treatment at his home.
During the week, Malda became the first district in the region to have a total case count of over 1,000 as it recorded 338 new infections. Three deaths also occurred in the district. However, an increase in the recovery rate brought some hope.
In neighbouring Murshidabad district, the active caseload increased from 58 to 100, while Uttar and Dakshin Dinajpur together added 200 cases. The active caseload in Uttar Dinajpur went up from 60 to 126 during the week, while it increased from 39 to 109 in Dakshin Dinajpur.
In Darjeeling, which has reported the most deaths (13) in North Bengal, the caseload rose by 175 during the week, and one fatality occurred. The district’s recovery rate declined by seven percentage points over the week, even as the active caseload rose from 163 to 298.
A district health official attributed the surge in cases to an increase in testing, and the return of migrant labourers to the region last month. Most cases were being detected in the populated areas in the plains, the official added, pointing out that all five containment zones here were in areas under the jurisdiction of Siliguri Municipal Corporation.
The official said the active caseload could be expected to come down within 14 to 21 days as recovery picks up.
In contrast to Darjeeling, the active caseload is only two in the hill district of Kalimpong, which reported one case during the week. Kalimpong has provided a glimmer of hope to the state health authorities apart from Medinipur division’s Jhargram district that became free of Covid-19 on Friday for the third time since the pandemic began.
In Jalpaiguri district in the north, the caseload rose by 168, pushing up the active case count from 73 to 183, even as the discharge rate fell. The district had recorded only 61 cases the week before.
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