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Surge in COVID-19 cases: Next few weeks crucial, say experts – Mrit News

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Karnataka, that has been consistently maintaining a Test Positivity Rate (TPR) of less than 1% since mid-March, is seeing a slight rise in this vital parameter in the last ten days. The State’s daily TPR rose from 0.74% on May 24 to 2.31% on June 10. 

As many as 4,657 positive cases have been reported since May 24. Of these, as many as 1,950 cases have been reported in the last five days alone. From 471 cases on Thursday, the State reported 525 cases on Friday. Overall, 95% of the total cases are from Bengaluru Urban alone.

Although the State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) that met on June 6 had said that the situation is still fluctuating, the number of new cases have nearly doubled since then – from 230 on June 6  to 525 on June 10.

State Health Commissioner Randeep D said although the rise is gradual, like in the third wave, the doubling rate is not yet alarming. “We will have to wait and watch if there is any rise in hospitalisation, clustering of cases or if any target groups such as children or senior citizens are getting infected,” he said. 

Next three weeks crucial

COVID-19 experts in the State attributed the current rise in TPR to local fluctuations. Asserting that the next two weeks are crucial, experts said the doubling rate in this period will decide whether the next wave has begun in the State.

C.N. Manjunath, member of the State’s Clinical Experts Committee, said the next two-three weeks are crucial. “With the Omicron BA.2 variant still the dominant one in Karnataka, we will have to wait for another two-three weeks before we can conclude that this is the onset of the fourth wave,” he said.

Pointing out that those who are yet to take the precaution dose and unvaccinated children will be the most vulnerable now, Dr. Manjunath said: “Many children are getting infected. In our hospital in the last one month, over 25 children have been found to be positive for COVID-19 when they were tested before surgeries.”

TAC member V. Ravi, who also heads the State’s SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Surveillance Committee, said the current rise in cases is a small spurt being seen three months after the previous outbreak (third wave). “We will know whether this is another wave or not by the end of next two-three weeks,” he said.

He said it is prudent at this juncture for people to behave responsibly. “Most importantly, those who develop symptoms should get tested and those who are yet to take the precaution dose should take it without any further delay,” he said.

Stop numbering waves

However, TAC member Giridhar R. Babu, who also heads Lifecourse Epidemiology at Indian Institute of Public Health in Bengaluru, said it was time we stopped numbering the waves.

“Whenever there is a rise in cases, it needs to be tracked if it is resulting in increased hospitalisation or deaths. It is important to initiate concerted actions by analysing the epidemiological data from the field correlating with sub-lineages. In the meantime, enhancing booster coverage is imperative,” Dr. Babu asserted.

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