Election fever: Bihar reduces Covid-19 testing rate

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November 2, 2020 6:15 AM

The analysis of testing data over the last two months reveals that as elections approached, instead of increasing its testing numbers, Bihar reduced its testing.

This is also the reason for its low positivity rate.This is also the reason for its low positivity rate.

If it isn’t bad enough that social distancing norms have been flouted at political rallies with little concern from the state administration, an analysis of data by FE shows Bihar has also dialled down on testing, reports Ishaan Gera in New Delhi.

The analysis of testing data over the last two months reveals that as elections approached, instead of increasing its testing numbers, Bihar reduced its testing.

So, while the state started conducting close to 1 lakh tests daily at the start of September, it inched closer to 1.7 lakh tests by the end of September, but as parties started campaigning daily, testing figures dipped to below 1 lakh for a brief period. While testing has risen back to 1.4 lakh tests since — on Sunday the daily testing for the state averaged 1.38 lakh samples — this is still 20% lower than a month-ago period.

On the other hand, Madhya Pradesh, which also is preparing for byelections to 28 legislative assembly seats, has increased its testing by 32%. While MP was testing 21,454 samples daily on an average by the end of September, this increased to 26,242 on Sunday.

The fall in testing has also been accompanied by a fall in infections. While Bihar was recording an average of 1,433 daily infections on September 30, this fell 52% to 690 on October 31. An earlier analysis by FE had shown that Bihar conducts a majority of tests, close to 90%, using the less reliable rapid antigen tests.

This is also the reason for its low positivity rate.

On Sunday, India had a positivity rate of 4.3%, while Bihar’s positivity rate was 0.5%. Bihar’s positivity rate has declined from 1% to 0.5% in the last one month.

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