• 895 cases, 21 deaths in West Bengal’s day of corona highs
    TimesOfIndia, 06 July 2020
  • KOLKATA: Bengal on Sunday recorded its highest single-day spike both in the number of fresh Covid cases and deaths, with 895 of the former and 21 of the latter reported in the past 24 hours.

    As the day’s new cases approached 900, this was the second straight day of “highest-yet” case rise for the state; Saturday’s patient spike had been 743.

    With this, there are now 6,658 active cases in the state, and a cumulative total of 22,126 since March 17. The numbers were mostly made up by Kolkata (244) and its neighbouring districts: North 24 Parganas (214), South 24 Parganas (118) and Howrah (111); the rest of the districts had double-digit or even fewer cases, barring Cooch Behar, Kalimpong and Birbhum, which did not report a single positive in the past 24 hours.

    With 21 deaths, the total Covid toll has gone up to 757, with more than half of the total number from Kolkata. On Sunday, Kolkata and North 24 Parganas reported eight deaths each.

    “We need to be very careful and cautious; otherwise, we can only delay the disaster but not contain it,” said pulmonologist Dhiman Ganguly, who had earlier advised the government on Covid-19 measures. “The government is doing whatever it can, but there must be an equal reciprocation and responsibility from citizens to abide by preventive protocols, such as mask-wearing, maintaining good hand hygiene and social distancing norms.”

    The trend, however, was not unexpected. Virologists and diseases experts had earlier indicated that the spate of fresh infections would continue to show an upward curve through July and August. Of the state’s total of 22,126 cases, more than one-sixth had been reported in the first five days of July, during which a total of 3,567 cases were reported. The positivity rate (the percentage of positive cases out of samples tested), which had been 2.7% in early June, has shot up to 4.1%.

    Bengal also conducted 11,016 tests on July 4, its highest yet. The tests per million population in the state rose to 6,012 on Sunday.

    “The infectivity rate is going up sharply. This was bound to happen. The stringent testing criteria laid down by ICMR prevented the states from ramping up testing at the right time. Nearly 40% of the population did not take the lockdown seriously. Now, too, a section of the population is still taking preventive protocols lightly. As a result, we may well be facing more troubling times ahead,” said virologist Sumon Poddar, associate professor, Institute of Child Health.

    “With the infectivity rate going up, the number of people with co-morbid conditions testing positive is also going up. That is pushing up the mortality rate. With the limited testing resources, giving priority to severe and moderate cases with or without co-morbidities and mildly asymptomatic but with co-morbidities could be a way of keeping a check on the mortality rate so that these people get the right kind of medical attention at the right time,” he added.
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