Kerala, known for its quick response to several epidemics, did a great job curbing the transmission of COVID-19 infection as soon as it broke out in the state earlier this year.
Kerala, known for its quick response to several epidemics, did a great job curbing the transmission of COVID-19 infection as soon as it broke out in the state earlier this year. However, six months down the line, the story is not the same. At a time when Coronavirus cases emerged in many states, India went on a nationwide lockdown, Kerala was successful in flattening the Coronavirus curve with only a dozen active cases by April-end. But what changed in the last four months that the state has a higher percentage of active cases when compared to Maharashtra or even the national level as on September 1.
According to a report by The Indian Express, several factors surfaced highlighting that COVID-19 curve in the state is growing with 76,525 confirmed cases where 31 per cent are active. Increase in testing is considered as one of the reasons for higher Coronavirus cases in Kerala. The report said until July, the number of tests that were conducted in the state had a daily average of 10,000 where 500-1,000 cases turned out to be positive. However, with ramped up testing of up to 40,000 samples, more positive cases (around 2,000 cases daily) are appearing adding to the overall COVID-19 toll.
Another factor indicated by the report is local and cluster transmission. Earlier when the Coronavirus first broke out in the state, the strategy was to check all those with travel history. After May, the percentage of locally transmitted cases began to grow. The local transmission was around 10 per cent before but currently, more than 70 per cent cases have been reported due to local transmission. The report said, around 19 per cent of the overall cases reported so far have travel history. Furthermore, clusters also played a major role in rapid transmission of the deadly virus. There are around 200-odd clusters in densely populated areas of Kerala including coasts, markets, government hospitals, and factories among others which have seen an increase in viral load.
As the nationwide lockdown was lifted, many states adopted their own guidelines in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 infection, which eventually eased with time and resulted in the government lowering the guard. The report highlighted that the Kerala government was still under the impression of a flattened curve of Coronavirus growth reported till April. This led to many relaxations that later resulted in a higher transmission rate.