Ministry health

Department of Health flags Covid-19 concerns in 6 states as virus spreads rapidly

Highlighting that as many as 515 districts across the country have reported a positivity rate above 5% in the past week, the Ministry of Health said on Thursday that the third wave triggered by highly infectious Omicron variant has spread to almost all parts of the country. However, despite the large increase, there have been fewer hospitalizations and deaths due to the high vaccination rate.

The Health Ministry said a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases continued to be noted in India, with the weekly positivity rate reaching nearly 16% in the past week.

“The pandemic situation shows that the third wave is now spreading to almost all parts of the country. It is also clear that deaths are low. Vaccination acted as a shield…mortality is significantly low…However, the overall positivity of 16% is quite high. There are some states with 50% positivity (Goa)….the virus is spreading fast. Vaccination and wearing a mask must be adopted. We cannot let our guard down,” said Dr VK Paul, head of India’s Covid-19 task force.

The ministry said that in the week ending Jan. 19, 515 districts across the country reported a positivity rate, compared to 335 districts in the week ending Jan. 12.

The department specifically flagged that six states remained areas of concern due to an increase in the weekly positivity rate during the week ending January 20 compared to the weekly positive rate reported during the week ending January 13. January: Maharashtra (20.35% vs. 22.12%); Karnataka (6.78% against 15.12%); Tamil Nadu (10.70% against 20.50%); Kerala (12.28% vs. 32.34%); Delhi (21.70% against 30.53%) and Uttar Pradesh (3.32% against 6.33%). “These are the states we are in constant contact with and reviewing the situation. We sent central teams to these states, which visited various districts. The states health administration has been notified,” Bhushan said.

On Thursday, Bhushan pointed out that despite a sharp increase in the number of cases, there have been fewer hospitalizations and deaths due to a high vaccination rate. “April 30, there were 3.86 new cases reported each day in the second wave, there were about 3,000 deaths. During the period from April 1 to April 30, only 2% in the country have been vaccinated. On January 20, there are 3.17 lakh new cases and 380 deaths. At present, 72% are fully vaccinated. Two aspects stand out from this comparison: compared to the second wave, the number of deaths proportional to active cases is significantly low; second…there is an impact of vaccination. In fully vaccinated people, the disease is mild or moderate. This is why it is important that those who have not been vaccinated the be,” Bhushan said.

Bhushan also pointed out that the symptoms have been milder during the current surge. “About 99% of adults have a fever, with or without chills (chills), cough and throat irritation. And, usually on the fifth day, the symptoms disappear. There is muscle weakness and fatigue. These are the symptoms we are seeing in the current outbreak in Delhi and we think of the whole country (as well). In pediatric patients, those between the ages of 11 and 18, fever and upper respiratory tract infection are common, meaning the infection does not affect the lungs. And the Covid-19 pneumonia cases are also much lower,” he said.

Emphasizing that the increase in active cases has not caused a huge burden on health systems in the current surge, Bhushan, referred to the situation in Delhi: hospitalizations remained between 1,600 and 2,600 between January 9 and on January 19 even when more than 75,000 active cases were seen. “It’s a straight line down,” he said, referring to the graph which showed a comparison between active cases, daily cases and hospitalizations in Delhi.

Paul, however, reiterated that even in the “relatively low mortality phase” of the pandemic, people with comorbidities and the elderly continue to remain vulnerable and should get vaccinated. Paul also reported that there are 10% of people over 60 who have not yet received their first dose and 25% who are due for their second dose.

Providing data from 2020 and 2021, Bhushan also said there was no change in the contribution of children to the total number of cases and deaths in the country. “Now we have over 2.5 years’ experience of seeing this pandemic. If you look at the 0-19 age group, in 2020 they contributed 10% of the total cases and 0 .96% of total deaths In 2021, 0-19 year olds contributed 11% of the total number of cases and 0.70% of the total number of deaths that occurred from Covid-19.So you would see that ‘between 2020 and 2021, there is not much difference in terms of the contribution of the total number of cases or deaths,’ he said.

Dr Balaram Bhargava, Chief Executive of the Indian Council of Medical Research, said: “The overall testing performance in the country is maintained at a level comparable to the second wave. What’s important to note is that we’ve seen an increasing use of home testing… In all of 2021, we’ve only seen 3,000 home tests being used. And, in those 20 days, we saw 2 lakh home tests that were used. Few districts are seeing a decline in testing and have been encouraged to increase it. »