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India Coronavirus Dispatch: Covid killed more in rural areas in September

Record cases in Kerala and Karnataka, going deeper into India's fatality rate, and how Covid could behave in winter--news on how the country is coping with the pandemic

Coronavirus Tests | Coronavirus | Lockdown

Shreegireesh Jalihal  |  New Delhi 

Hospital, Coronavirus
At 1.55 per cent, India’s Covid-19 case fatality rate is an important talking point

In Numbers

Rural spread: After the government imposed the world’s harshest at short notice, migrant workers from around the country were forced to make a journey back home. It was only a matter of time before the pandemic would take off in the rural stretches of the country. On Juy 26, cases from rural India first topped the ones from urban areas. Since May, the government has not released district-wise data. However, an analysis of records throws up concerning statistics. In August alone, rural districts reported almost 1.1 million Covid-19 cases; this was 56 per cent of all new cases recorded. For the first 27 days of September, 53 per cent of the nation’s Covid tally came from rural areas. By 27 Sept 49.7 per cent of the all cases came from these regions. UP saw a big jump in rural cases — from 40 per cent in April to 65 per cent in September. In MP, the numbers went from 20 per cent in April to 65 per cent in September. The pandemic has also killed more people in rural districts than in urban ones in September. Read more here

Kerala, Karnataka see record cases: Kerala and Karnataka recorded over 10,000 new Covid-19 cases of on Wednesday, both touching new records in the process, even as the national count remained well within 80,000. While Karnataka has gone past 10,000 daily cases in the past, this was a first for Kerala. Till the start of September, the highest number of cases that Kerala had seen in a single day was just about 2,500. In the last three weeks, the southernmost state has been averaging at around 7,000 daily cases. The positivity rate has also been increasing steadily. Kerala has also been seeing a small hike in the number of deaths. The only good news for Kerala is that it still has comparatively low case fatality ratio of 0.37 per cent. Read more here


On India’s Covid mortality: At 1.55 per cent, India’s Covid-19 case fatality rate is an important talking point. But just like a recent editorial from Lancet pointed out, this should not give rise to ‘false optimism’. Asian nations have seen lower mortality compared to European ones on account of demography. But what matters above all, according to the columnist, is what exactly counts as a Covid death. The WHO in its guidelines has categorically stated that even in cases of co-morbidities, the death must be attributed to Covid. However, states in India have set up expert committees to look into and verify deaths. This re-examination of deaths should be along the lines of the WHO guidelines. A recent paper that compared mortality by adjusting for age also found that India’s CFR is high. As India starts witnessing a decline in daily cases, its mortality rate must be watched closely as the pandemic continues to spread in rural parts. Read more here

ALSO READ: Covid-19 Factoid: India recorded a drop in active cases for 5 straight days

Understanding Covid-19

Covid in winters: The pandemic has survived the summer and monsoon, but how will it behave during the winter? It’s widely known that most seasonal flu viruses are more active during the winters. However, no definite temperature-specific trend has been observed in the case of so far. In India, the winter is different from western countries where people mostly stay indoors when temperatures drop. Further, even H1N1 has shown greater prevalence during winters in states like Maharashtra. At least one doctor says that the northern regions of the country may see a second wave. Also, restrictions have largely been removed at this point. Wearing masks and social distancing is now the mantra as temperatures are set to drop. Read more here

What happens if a housemate is positive? If your flatmate or partner exhibits symptoms of Covid-19, how likely is it that you’ll test positive as well? While the chances are high, it should not be a foregone conclusion. Transmission of droplets in an indoor setting is higher. Also, risk of infection increases with prolonged contact. But so far households have remained relatively safer in terms of spread of the disease. Keeping windows of the house open to ensure good ventilation and staying at least 1 meter away from the individual should keep you safe. Further, sanitising all high-contact surfaces is necessary. Ultimately, trying to avoid coming in direct contact with an infected person and not sharing kitchen and bathroom essentials with them is necessary. Read more here

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First Published: Thu, October 08 2020. 14:34 IST