New worry as states with fewer cases see Covid spurt, big jump in Rajasthan

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Written by Amitabh Sinha
| Pune |

Nov. 23, 2020, 4:37 a.m.


The city of Ahmedabad is subject to a “full curfew” from Friday evening to Monday morning, with only stores selling milk and medicines remaining open, given the sharp rise in Covid-19 cases after Diwali. In picture: Empty roads in Ahmedabad as curfew is imposed for the weekend. (Express photo: Nirmal Harindran)

Even as states with relatively fewer cases have reported an upsurge in Covid cases, the Center has sent high-level teams to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to help them fight against the spread of disease.

While new cases of coronavirus infections continue to decline – or remain stagnant – in the worst-affected states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, in contrast, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and even the ‘Himachal Pradesh have seen a significant increase in case activity.

Read | Covid-19: nighttime curfew, restrictions in some northern and central states; the south sees diving

Uttar Pradesh is the only one of the top 10 states with the most cases to have seen an increase in its active cases over the past two weeks, and that too only a nominal increase of less than 500.

As Delhi and Kerala continue to report the maximum number of new cases each day, even these two appear to have left their peaks behind and are now seeing a drop in their active cases.

In absolute terms, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and even Himachal Pradesh still report much lower numbers than Maharashtra, or some other top 10 states, but that’s fine. more than what they brought before.

As a result, the Ministry of Health sent high-level teams to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. A few days ago, similar teams were also sent to Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Chhattisgarh.

Nationwide, coronavirus cases are increasing at a daily rate of 0.45%. Of the ten states with maximum caseloads, only three – Delhi, Kerala and West Bengal – are currently growing faster than the national rate. On the other hand, 14 of the next 20 states have growth rates faster than national growth.

Active cases in the country have been steadily declining for two months. It had peaked at 10.17 lakh on September 19 and is down to around 4.4 lakh now. But two of the last three days have seen a slight increase in active cases, thanks to the surge that is being seen in some states.

The largest increase in active cases in the past two weeks has been in Rajasthan – an increase of more than 5,600 – followed by Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. In fact, on Saturday Rajasthan reported more than 3,000 new cases per day for the first time, and on Sunday an even higher number of cases, 3,260, were reported by the state.

Similarly, Himachal Pradesh, which has a total number of cases below 35,000, has detected an average of around 650 cases per day over the past two weeks. Before this month, he had never reported more than 460 cases per day. On Saturday, the state found up to 915 new cases. Active cases in the state have more than doubled, from around 3,000 to more than 7,000, since the start of this month.

Haryana also reported its largest single-day rise on Friday, detecting more than 3,000 cases for the first time. Here, too, active cases have almost doubled in the past month. In fact, Haryana has been among the five states with the highest contribution of new cases over the past two weeks.

Although this is the first major surge of cases in Himachal Pradesh, states like Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are experiencing a second wave of infections. These states were among the biggest contributors a few months ago, and were also in the top five states with maximum caseload.

Part of the rise in the number of cases in those states could be attributed to poor compliance with physical distancing standards during festival season, especially since it came after a prolonged phase of relative stability, which could have given rise to rise to public complacency.

The situations in Delhi and Kerala, however, have shown that the second and subsequent waves of infections could be worse than the first.

States such as Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan have already recorded far higher numbers in their worst days of the first wave.

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