Experts on rising infection rate in Kerala
As the festival season is not yet over, the effect of relaxations and appropriate non-Covid behaviors of people venturing out for celebrations and shopping would be seen in the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) which, according to experts like Dr Amar Fettle and Dr Kannan, is expected to rise further from Saturday’s 17.73%. “You can’t hold a gun over people’s heads and make them follow directions. They have to change their behavior on their own,” said Dr. Fettle, the state’s node officer for COVID- 19.
From 14.03% on August 16, the TPR rose steadily to 17.73 on Saturday August 21.
On Saturday, the number of new cases in Kerala was 17,106, nearly half of the national total of 34,457 that was reported by the Union Ministry of Health on the morning of August 21.
When asked if such a scenario was due to the easing of restrictions, experts said relaxations were needed because people have been locked inside for more than a year, since March of the last year, and also because of the financial crisis facing those who do not have a stable income.
Since Kerala had a large population that was not yet infected with COVID-19, the infection rate was expected to increase, which was also a reason for the increase in TPR, they said.
On top of that, the Delta strain of the virus, which is active in the state, was much more virulent than the previous version that prevailed in the first wave, and therefore, it would take a considerable amount of time to bring TPR to the low.
As the state strives to reduce the numbers, sufficient medical infrastructure and staff are in place to handle the growing workload, and capacity can be increased if necessary, Dr Fettle said.
He said that currently only 40% to 60% of COVID beds are occupied and not all infected people will require hospitalization, as many of them may have been vaccinated with one or two doses. and, therefore, the effect of the virus may not be severe for them.
He said the time is over when the government can apply the guidelines by force, now people have to do it themselves.
On August 19, Kerala Health Minister Veena George said the TPR was high in the state due to the increased number of tests being carried out and called on everyone to be vigilant during Onam as the COVID cases were on the increase.
“While lives and livelihoods are important, self-preservation was also important,” she said.
“You can’t point a gun at people ‘s heads and make them follow directions. They have to change their behavior on their own,” Dr Fettle said, adding that “instead of government orders, a cry emotional to the people is necessary to follow the standards. ” A similar point of view was expressed by Dr Kannan, who said that when police officers report violations of COVID standards in stores during the holiday season, the reaction they get from store owners or the public is that ‘they are prepared to face the legal consequences.
This, he said, was due to the fact that people, especially traders and small businessmen, were starving due to the loss of income due to the foreclosure and subsequent restricted opening of businesses. .
The financial crisis faced by those without a stable income who have been locked inside for so long has changed people’s outlook on the virus and they are less afraid of it now, he said. .
Fettle, on the other hand, said that while it is fair that businesses cannot be shut down forever and people cannot be asked to stay indefinitely, but when they do venture out to outdoors, individuals must change their behavior and follow COVID-19 standards.
He said people, when they venture out, should take into account the risk taken by health workers, who work day in and day out without breaks, vacations or even Onam to care for those affected by COVID-19. , and also remember the number of people who have lost their lives or those who have lost loved ones or breadwinners to the virus.
“The public, those who escaped the virus, must exercise their caution, change their behavior taking into account health workers who work tirelessly without vacations and people who have lost their lives or those who have lost loved ones or loved ones. breadwinners. to COVID-19, ”Fettle said.
Kerala reported 17,106 cases of COVID-19 and 83 deaths on Saturday, bringing the total number of people affected in the state to 38,03,903 and the toll to 19,428, according to a state government statement.
The statement also said that as of Saturday 96,481 samples had been tested, bringing the cumulative number of specimens examined so far to 3,017,011 and the TPR stood at 17.73%.
Meanwhile, 20,846 people recovered from the disease on Saturday, bringing the total number of people cured in the state to 36,05,480. Currently, there are 1,78,462 people on treatment in the state, the statement said. .
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