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Coronavirus rages in south India, experts say states ‘nearing peak’

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COVID India: 7,000 under observation in Kerala, 26 cases in MaharashtraNew Delhi, Aug 24 (IANS) After unleashing its fury across the country, the coronavirus pandemic has now waned over northern India and instead cast its shadow on the southern states, with health experts claiming that Kerala could be starting on its second wave while Tamil Nadu successfully passed its peak.

Five southern states – Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, and Kerala have cumulatively logged 37.8 per cent of the total confirmed cases, up from 33 per cent last month. Of late, there has been a spurt in cases across all five states.

Of the total 3,106,348 cases in the country, more than 1,174,663 cases are from the five southern states. Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, however, have recorded more than three lakh cases, though the rate of increase in cases is much higher in the latter.

Chennai-based infectious diseases expert Dr Subramanian Swaminathan, however, claimed that it is just a matter of months and the states will be on the other side as their caseload will start dropping very quickly.

Substantiating his claims, he told IANS, “Southern India is already close to its peak but is still not past the peak. Chennai is past its peak, while Bangalore and Hyderabad, Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Telangana are close to the peak.”

Dr Swaminathan further said that the numbers in northern India will start peaking in the near future and the country will probably see a reversal of the trend.

Eight states in northern India only account for 18.3 per cent of the total confirmed cases. In the north, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi have logged the maximum cases. While the national capital recorded 1,61,466 cases, neighbouring Uttar Pradesh has 1,87,781 confirmed cases.

According to Dr P. Venkata Krishnan, an Internal Medicines Specialist, “If we see the graph today, we can safely say that the cases of COVID-19 in northern India are definitely on the decreasing trend. So, states in the north are seeing less than 10,000 active cases per week. But if we see the same data from the south, we can see the number of cases rising in most southern states with more than 30,000 cases per week.”

Kerala, which was once widely lauded for flattening the curve, is now witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases. On Monday, it recorded more than 1,000 fresh cases and five deaths, though it has the least number of confirmed cases in southern India.

Some experts have alluded this surge to the ‘Unlock’ phase, ease of travelling and violation of quarantine protocols. According to Dr Shuchin Bajaj, Founder and Director of Ujala Cygnus Healthcare Services, Kerala is starting on its second wave of infections since it was the first state in India to get a case.

“Even in the Spanish Flu, as we saw a century ago, but we witnessed the second and third wave as well. Second wave is much more widespread and lethal. So, in case of coronavirus, we should be ready for the second wave and if we are very unlucky then the third wave as well,” he said.

Dr Shuchin further said that there is no reason to worry when the cases are rising in southern states as some of the states came late into the picture. “Covid-19 is showing us a classical kind of spread. The cases begin increasing for a while and then start waning. So, waning in each particular community is a classical picture.”

He said that states and public health experts should caution the community and advise them not to take it lightly. “It is not that Covid-19 has come and gone. It is very much among us and it can come again in a much more lethal and widespread fashion.”

Meanwhile, with a single-day spike of 61,408 infections, India’s Covid-19 tally breached the 31-lakh mark, a day after it crossed 30 lakh, while recoveries surged to 23,38,035 pushing the recovery rate to over 75 per cent.

–IANS

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