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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

New worry as states with fewer cases see Covid spurt, big jump in Rajasthan

Accordingly, the Health Ministry has dispatched high-level teams to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. A few days ago, similar teams were sent to Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Chhattisgarh as well.

Written by Amitabh Sinha | Pune | Updated: November 23, 2020 9:09:32 am
While 13,516 suspects were identified, 11,790 of them were tested.

Even as states with relatively smaller caseloads have been reporting a spurt in Covid cases, the Centre has dispatched high-level teams to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to help them tackle the spread of the disease.

While fresh cases of coronavirus infections continue to decline — or remain stagnant — in the worst-affected states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, on the other hand, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and even Himachal Pradesh have been seeing a significant rise in active cases.

Uttar Pradesh is the only one in the top 10 states with highest caseloads to have seen an increase in its active cases in the last two weeks, and that too only a nominal rise of less than 500.

While Delhi and Kerala continue to report the maximum number of new cases every day, even these two seem have left their peaks behind, and are now witnessing a decline in their active cases.

Read | Covid-19: Night curfews, restrictions back in some north, central states; south sees dip

In absolute terms, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and even Himachal Pradesh are still reporting far lesser number of cases than Maharashtra, or some other top 10 states, but it is much more than what they were reporting earlier.

Accordingly, the Health Ministry has dispatched high-level teams to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. A few days ago, similar teams were sent to Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Chhattisgarh as well.

Nationally, coronavirus cases are growing at a daily rate of 0.45 per cent. Amongst the ten states with maximum caseloads, only three – Delhi, Kerala and West Bengal — are currently growing faster than the national rate. On the other hand, 14 of the next 20 states have growth rates faster than the national growth.

Active cases in the country have been falling steadily for the last two months. It had peaked at 10.17 lakh on September 19, and has come down to about 4.4 lakh now. But two of the last three days has seen a small rise in active cases, thanks to the surge that is being seen in some of the states.

Also read | An Expert Explains: Where are we in Covid-19 vaccine hunt?

The biggest rise in active cases in the last two weeks has come in Rajasthan – an increase of more than 5,600 — followed by Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. In fact, on Saturday, Rajasthan reported more than 3,000 new cases in a day for the first time, and on Sunday, even higher number of cases, 3,260, were reported from the state.

Similarly, Himachal Pradesh, whose total caseload is less than 35,000, has been detecting an average of about 650 cases every day for the last two weeks. Before this month, it had never reported more than 460 cases in a day. On Saturday, the state found as many as 915 fresh cases. The active cases in the state have more than doubled, from about 3,000 to over 7,000, since the start of this month.

Haryana also reported its highest ever single-day rise this Friday, detecting over 3,000 cases for the first time. Here also, the active cases have almost doubled in the last one month. In fact, Haryana has been among the five states with the highest contribution of new cases in the last two weeks.

While this is the first major spurt in cases in Himachal Pradesh, states such as Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are experiencing a second wave of infections. These states were among the highest contributors a few months ago, and also figured in the top five states with maximum caseloads.

Part of the reason for the surge in cases in these states could be attributed to low adherence of physical distancing norms during the festival season, especially since it came after a prolonged phase of relative stability, which could have given rise to complacency amongst the public.

The situations in Delhi and Kerala have, however, demonstrated that the second and subsequent wave of infections could be worse than the first.

States such as Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan have already notched up numbers that are much higher than their worst days in the first wave.

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