Faint rural-urban divide, high elderly population among nine reasons behind Kerala’s Covid-19 spurt, Centre says

By: |
August 11, 2021 5:08 PM

Dr. Singh also pointed to two other factors — 55 per cent of the state’s population was susceptible to the virus and the prevalence of 90 per cent of the highly contagious Delta variant in the state — to be behind the spurt.

covid 19 testing in keralaDr. Singh said Kerala’s current Rt value was 1.12

Little of no rule-urban divide, a high density of elderly population, and unlocking of the tourism sector were behind the spurt in Covid-19 cases in Kerala, according to a report submitted by the central team that had visited the state to take stock of the situation.

The report identified nine challenges unique to Kerala to be behind the spiralling of Covid-19 cases in the state, The Indian Express reported.

National Centre for Disease Control Director Dr. Sujeet Kumar Singh, who travelled to Kerala as part of the central team, submitted the detailed report last week. In the report, he highlighted that there was very little demarcation between the state’s urban and rural areas, which led to high intra-house transmission.

Speaking of the faint rural-urban divide, Dr. Singh said unlike north Indian states, especially those with high-population density, where farmlands play the part of a natural barrier, houses in Kerala are spread linearly. He added home isolation was not being done properly in the state, according to The Indian Express.

Dr. Singh added that Kerala was reporting a high number of re-infections, even among those who have completed their vaccination dose. He pointed to data shared by a district collector that showed Patnamthitta having 5,042 infections in persons with both vaccine doses. The team is still investigating how long it took after the second dose for the people to contract the virus.

Kerala also had a high prevalence of non-communicable diseases at nearly 30 per cent. Dr. Singh said 25-30 per cent of the deaths occurred within 72 hours of hospitalisation in May and June. He added that the high prevalence of non-communicable diseases was another factor that was leading to higher disease prevalence.

Dr. Singh also pointed to two other factors — 55 per cent of the state’s population was susceptible to the virus and the prevalence of 90 per cent of the highly contagious Delta variant in the state — to be behind the spurt.

The state’s high life expectancy meant Kerala had a high proportion of elderly population. Dr. Singh said this population was highly susceptible to the virus. Substantial migration — both national and international — was another reason for the surge, with Dr. Singh calling for strict measures such as local lockdowns to interrupt the transmission.

Unlocking for Onam on August 20 and reopening of the state’s tourism sector had also created a challenging scenario, Dr. Singh said.

Dr. Singh said Kerala’s current Rt value was 1.12. As per the current trend, Dr. Singh expects Kerala to witness a total of approximately 4.62 lakh cases between August 1 and 20, with a 95 per cent confidence interval.

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