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Second wave of Covid-19 not yet over as ‘R’ number high in eight states

By Administrator_ India

Capital Sands

The reproduction number of coronavirus has increased beyond one in eight states across the country with the health ministry sounding cautious that the second wave of the epidemic was still raging.

The R or the reproduction number indicates the average number of new infections generated by one infected person during the entire infectious period. When this number is more than one, it indicates a spread of infection. India’s R number currently is 1.2, which is the same as the US, Canada, and Australia.

“The Covid situation in the country is showing a mixed picture. The high caseload in Kerala is a significant worry. The R number of the country is moving in the wrong direction. It is truly a cause of concern as the second wave is persisting,” said V K Paul, member-health, NITI Aayog, and chairman of the National Covid Task Force. The ministry said this number had come down to 0.6 but gradually rose to more than once in the eight states — Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Laks­hadweep, Tamil Nadu, Karn­ataka, Mizoram, Puducherry, and Kerala.

Almost 50 percent of the total cases in the last week were from Kerala. Of the 18 districts in the country reporting an increasing trend in the daily new cases in the past four weeks, 10 are from Kerala. These 18 districts make up for 47.5 percent of the total new cases in the country, according to the ministry.

Forty-four districts in India are reporting more than 10 percent weekly positivity. Ten of these are in Kerala while nine are in Mizoram. A central team led by Sujeet Singh, director of the National Centre for Disease Control, visited the affected districts of Kerala. In Malappuram, where the test positivity was more than 17 percent, the team has asked the state authorities to increase surveillance, create containment and buffer zones. “It was found that only symptomatic people were getting tested and only 20 percent of the tests were the RT-PCR. More stress has to be laid on contact tracing and the gold standard of testing which is RT-PCR,” Lav Agarwal, joint secretary of the health ministry, said.

Average daily vaccinations in July rose to 4.3 million from 3.9 million in June and doubled compared to 2 million in May, the ministry said. Over half of those in the vulnerable age group over 45 years have got at least one dose so far.

The government also said there was no plan to alter the 25 percent quota of vaccine supply reserved for the private sector as it is helpful in enhancing the reach of the vaccination drive. Paul said giving priority vaccination to children with comorbidities is a sound and valid scientific principle but a decision would be taken once the vaccine for children is available.