Covid-19: Low sero positivity cuts Kerala's strategy both ways

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on February 07, 2021

representative image   -  THE HINDU

Active case load still highest in country

The third round of sero surveillance survey conducted in three districts in Kerala in mid-December as part of the national sero survey may just go to prove what is right or equally wrong with the Covid-19 strategy adopted into the second year after the state reported its first infection, also the country’s first, in January 2020.

Taken out in the three districts of Ernakulam, Thrissur and Palakkad, the survey put the sero positivity rate at 11.6 per cent at just half that of the national average (21 per cent). This may suggest the effectiveness of the state’s containment strategy but leaves a large proportion of its population vulnerable.

Gap between active load, recoveries

The state’s fight against the marauding virus could prove to be a long-drawn one, what with the gap between the size of the active case load and recoveries still disconcertingly wide. The latter number has improved recently and has crossed the 90-per cent mark, reaching 92.61 per cent on Saturday.

But this is way behind the recovery ratios in the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu (98 per cent); Karnataka (98.1 per cent); and Andhra Pradesh (99.1 per cent). The only redeeming feature is the case fatality ratio at 0.4 per cent, which continues to be the best among the southern states and even outside.

Sitting on top of a powder keg

The state has been sitting atop a powder keg for much longer than warranted, with its position made unenviable with Covid-19 protocols being thrown to the winds after relaxations were announced in lockdown restrictions coinciding with the onset of the festival season (Onam) in September.

Not too long after, it had plunged into full-scale electioneering with the local bodies going to the polls in December. A lot of prestige and reputation was at risk with both the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front and the Opposition United Democratic Front and the BJP fighting it out hard on the street and off it.

Daily case numbers plateau

This saw mass gatherings being called at will, giving a short shrift to Covid-19 protocols including sanitising and social distancing. This is thought to have played a role in the spike of infections from September that peaked in October. The number has since plateaued, a trend that continues till date.

On Saturday, Kerala topped the highest active case load for the country as a whole at 67,555 which was almost double that of second-ranked Maharashtra (34,934). But the state had also posted the highest number of recoveries per day at 6,178 beating Maharashtra (1,739) to the second position by some distance.

New trend in test positivity

A welcome feature for Kerala in the early days of February is that despite raising the number of tests by almost double, the test positivity rate has trended lower and climbed down from the stubborn two-digit numbers. Test positivity rate was 7.18 per cent when 82,804 samples were tested on Saturday.

The previous day, the number of tests was 91,931, the highest daily number so far, but the test positivity ratio was still lower at 6.1 per cent. Thursday saw 84,007 tests and the test positivity ration at 7.57. Experts fear that these numbers could go for a toss in view of elections to the State Assembly due in next three months.

Published on February 07, 2021

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

You May Also Like