Updated: August 17, 2020 2:17:58 pm
The week ended on a buoyant note for West Bengal despite the second straight day of over 3,000 new cases as its recovery rate surged to 74.48 per cent on Sunday, over two percentage points more than the national discharge rate and higher than some of the worst-affected states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.
The state saw a massive 19,651 people recover during the week, only marginally less than the 20,944 infections it recorded in the period that saw its caseload rise to 1,16,498. The weekly discharge rate was 94 per cent, an upswing of 22 percentage points.
In further relief for the state health authorities, the infection growth rate and the test positivity rate fell further this week, while fewer people died than the previous week. There were 369 fatalities, compared to 381 the week before, as the case fatality rate fell to 2.08 per cent.
The average weekly growth of infection declined for the fourth straight week, settling at 3.13 per cent. It was 3.8 per cent the week before. The doubling rate of infection — calculated over seven-day average growth — slowed down further from 18.5 days to 22.5 days.
While the daily test positivity rate has climbed the past few weeks, keeping pace with the increase in tests, the weekly positivity rate declined for the third straight week. This week it was 10.02 per cent, more than one percentage point below last week’s figure. This decline even as the government stepped up testing. This week, the health authorities examined a massive 2,08,873 samples, with a record 34,214 tests conducted on Saturday. The week before 1,71,362 samples had been examined.
Keeping with the trend, the epicentre in South Bengal comprising Kolkata; its adjoining districts North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and Howrah; and Hooghly reported almost 60 percent of the cases, down from 65 per cent week before. These five districts also recorded more than 75 per cent of the week’s fatalities.
This hotbed of infection also contributed to 66 per cent of the week’s recoveries. Kolkata, the worst hit in the region along with North 24 Parganas district, added 4,463 cases, 331 fewer than the week before.
Purba Medinipur, the other district in South Bengal where the situation is alarming, recorded 1,160 cases during the week, and its active caseload (1,398) is higher than Hooghly’s count and the highest outside the epicentre. However, its recovery rate picked up and was 61.41 per cent on Sunday, up three percentage points since the end of last week.
The other district of concern continued to be Darjeeling in North Bengal, which added 603 cases in this period and recorded 11 more deaths, making it the worst-hit district outside the epicentre in terms of fatalities. Five of those deaths occurred on Sunday, pushing up the toll to 50.
The situation is also grave in the region’s Malda district, where the signs of some recovery seen a few weeks back seem to have disappeared. The district added 836 cases to its load. At present, it has 935 active cases — eclipsed only by the South Bengal hotspot and Purba Medinipur.
The situation in Cooch Behar, where the situation had been alarming since the beginning of the month, there was marginal improvement as active cases dropped from 542 at the end of last week to 476. Following the first Covid-19 death there this week, reported in the August 14 bulletin, Bankura is the only district left yet to report any fatality related to the disease.
A glimmer of hope was provided by Dakshin Dinajpur, where the situation remained stable. Its active case count (610) was almost the same as at the end of last week (613). The district added 508 cases in this period, but also saw 506 patients get discharged.
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