Kerala’s worst Covid-19 fears seem to be coming true, with the number of new cases now crossing the 2,000-threshold on Wednesday for the first time ever since the pandemic hit us. The state reported a total number of 2,333 new cases for the day.
Only last week, health minister K K Shylaja had warned that the daily caseload could go up by between 10,000 and 20,000 by September. The projection was based on expert studies. And going by the rate of increase in the last few days, that number seems to be a near certainty.
What causes the greatest worry is the fact that about 95 percent of the new cases are due to spread of infection through contacts. The remaining ones are accounted for by cases where the origin is not known. There is also a consistent increase in the number of deaths, which on Wednesday was seven.
Thiruvananthapuram continues to bear the brunt, with over 500 new cases reported for the day. With these, the district has about 4,500 patients in hospitals. Over 17,000 people are undergoing treatment in various districts. With this, the total number of patients in the state has gone past the half lakh mark. Over 1.6 lakh people are under observation in different parts of the state.
If the daily caseload increases by the current rate, the pressure on hospitals would exceed the manageable levels and soon patients will have to be treated at home, as is the case with some of the worst affected states.
The sudden spurt has coincided with a progressive withdrawal of restrictions and people are coming out on the streets for the flimsiest of reasons as they find the new freedom as a licence for the resumption of normal life.
For instance, in Thiruvananthapuram, where a month-long lockdown has just been lifted, people have thrown caution to the wind and social distancing and other safeguards have gone for a toss.
Temples and other places of worship, which remained closed to devotees for several months, have been allowed to re-open, subject to COVID protocols.
The health authorities have increased the number of tests in view of the spike. In the last 24 hours, over 36,000 samples have been tested in the form of routine sampling, airport surveillance, pooled sentinel survey etc. Sentinel survey covers health workers and other vulnerable sections, including guest workers.