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Kerala records 20,624 Covid cases, TPR at 12.31%

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on July 31, 2021

There is some logic to high R-factor, says community health expert

Kerala reported 20,624 new Covid cases on Saturday when 1,67,579 samples were tested at a test positivity rate (TPR) of 12.31 per cent. Malappuram (3,474), Thrissur (2,693), Palakkad (2,209) Kozhikode (2,113) and Ernakulam (2,072) shared most numbers in what has now become a persisting trend.

Eighty deaths occurring over the last several days have been moved afresh into the Covid-19 account, taking the cumulative toll during the pandemic to 16,781. Size of the active case pool is 1,64,500, while the number of patients undergoing treatment across the state is 28,438.

As for the local self-government jurisdictions classified as A, B, C and D as per the ascending order of the respective average seven-day TPRs, there were 62 falling under A (TPR of five per cent or less); 294 under B (TPR of 5-10 per cent); 355 under C (TPR of 10-15 per cent); and 323 (TPR of 15 per cent plus).

Logic to R-factor flare-up

TS Anish, Associate Professor, Community Medicine, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, says there’s some logic in the R-factor value climbing up in Kerala. R-factor indicates the speed at which Covid-19 infection is spreading in the community.

Anish told BusinessLine that during the earlier part of the second wave, Kerala managed to save lives by preventing infections. “Had the current numbers of 20,000+ been allowed to add into the 45,000+ cases then, it would have collapsed our medical infrastructure. Those who helped us prevent our system from going under then, are now getting infected following re-opening and some super-spreader events.”

Better vaccination cover

But Anish hastened to add that there’s a subtle difference between infections happening then and now. “We did not have many vaccinations happening at that time and allowing more infections would have brought many to a critical stage necessitating hospitalisation and supplementary oxygen feed.”

Secondly, infections were too high at that time and so many lives would have been at risk from lack of hospital beds. But now, the scene is different with at least 50 per cent of the population getting the first dose of vaccine. Kerala is the second most vaccinated after Delhi. Given this, and the fact that there are enough number of hospital beds available, we should not worry about the high case load, Anish said.

Published on July 31, 2021

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