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Sunday, November 1, 2020

Covid, news, views, truth and more !! ~ failed models

Chennai metropolis … totally perplexing ! ~ the citizens feel they have conquered Corona and the virus is not to be feared at all – but the nos. tell a different story.  In fact, the perception, the media, the social media messages are always totally confusing as far as Covid 19 is concerned.  In the initial stages, when lockdown was introduced, we kept talking to known people in various places – a friend in coastal  Andhra and another in Mettur TN sounded that in their places were virtually unaffected – sort of no. cases reported at all.  At that time, my street alone had close to 100 persons afflicted; then Chennai city (that too 4 zones in that) were contributing close to 80% of TN cases.  Slowly the numbers changed, in some ways City is still hovering around 1300 but the numbers in other parts made this look a bit insignificant.

Once it was only Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai in race – West Bengal denied that there ever was a virus while Kerala basked in glory of having conquered it and getting UNESCO awards for that .. .. ..

Elsewhere in USA, President Donald Trump staged a dramatic return to the White House after leaving the military hospital where he was receiving an unprecedented level of care for COVID-19. He immediately ignited a controversy by declaring that despite his illness the nation should not fear the virus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans — and then he entered the White House without a protective mask.

To fear the existence – the  number of COVID-19 containment zones in Chennai rose from 10 to 42 in just two days as the city keeps recording close to 1400 cases daily. Ambattur Corporation Zone has the most number of containment zones -- 21 -- while Teynampet, Alandur and Adyar have four containment zones each. In Ambattur zone, areas with streets having more than five index cases include Moggappair East, Padi, Thirumangalam, Korattur and Anna Nagar West Extension. The city currently has 674 streets with active COVID-19 cases and among them, Ambattur, Kodambakkam and Teynampet zones have streets with more than 50 cases. The five zones in north Chennai -- Thiruvottriyur, Manali, Madhavaram, Tondiarpet and Royapuram -- have 195 streets with active cases, while the Central Chennai zones of Thiruvika Nagar, Ambattur, Anna Nagar, Teynampet and Kodambakkam have 341 streets with active cases. Chennai currently has 12,560 active cases which is seven percent of the total tally while 91 percent of the infected have been discharged.

The much-touted ‘Kerala model’ of combatting COVID-19 is under severe strain, with the state’s health minister KK Shailaja warning that a failure to flatten the curve by the end of October could make the southern state “the most vulnerable COVID-19 hotspot in India”. In between the Actor who hailed this and wanted TN to learn and copy the model, is busy in some other show !!  The remarks by the minister, who was lauded by the national and international media in the early months of the pandemic for keeping it under control, comes amid a surge in coronavirus cases in Kerala.  Kerala has recorded more than 21,466 cases since Sunday. The highest number of cases was recorded on Sunday when the state lodged 8,553 cases. 

Amid mounting Covid-19 cases and a steep hike in test positivity rate, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and medical experts on Tuesday locked horns over the pandemic control measures in the state. While the CM maintained that the state’s Covid-19 control measures have paid dividends, experts want the government to streamline its plans and engage more professionals in the fight against the pandemic. They warned the government that Covid-19 cases may peak by this month-end and the state needs more curbs to meet the situation and more tests. They said the government was framing policies as suggested by the bureaucracy without consulting medical experts.

The Union Health Ministry statistics show after Maharashtra and Karnataka, Kerala has got the highest active cases (87,738) and test positivity rate has gone up to 13.01while the national average is 8.3. The state has also got the maximum new cases per million. But the CM brushed aside criticism saying the state has got the lowest mortality rate in the country 0.36% while the national average is 1.55 per cent. He also came down heavily on the Indian Medical Association Kerala chapter which earlier said the “state health system was weak sans deep study and proper management”.

On the positive side, India reported a sharp drop in new COVID-19 cases recorded in the last 24 hours, with the Health Ministry data released this morning showing 61,267 fresh cases of coronavirus. With this, the total Covid cases in India have crossed 66.85 lakh with total deaths at 1,03,569, including 884 in 24 hours. According to the Johns Hopkins University, which has been compiling COVID-19 data from all over the world, there has been a slight fall in India's 7-day-average of new cases confirmed each day. The country now has 9,19,023 active COVID-19 cases and more than 56.6 lakh recoveries with 75,787 more people having fought off the disease in the last 24 hours, Health Ministry data shows.  

As many as 7,871 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Kerala, taking the state's active count to 87,738, said Chief Minister (CM) Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday.  India has been recording an average of 64,000 cases daily so far this month, down from more than 86,000 daily cases in the last two weeks of September. It's also a steep drop from earlier in September, when daily cases averaged around 93,000. Daily deaths too have been declining in most states. But testing has remained consistent. 

The  recent decline in cases and deaths is a promising signal, but it's far too early to say that the pandemic is receding.  The  feeling of security is "transient and ephemeral",  So keep your mask on, wash your hands and stay away from crowded places. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar



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