NEW DELHI: At 9.5%, poll-bound West Bengal has the highest Covid-19 case growth in the country now, data shared by the Union health ministry showed. It was followed by Karnataka, which has a near explosive growth rate of 9%, while Delhi, reeling under a huge medical oxygen crisis, has the second-lowest growth rate at 1.5% after Maharashtra (0.5 %), among the surge states. And at about 50%, Bengal’s capital Kolkata now has the highest test positivity rate.
The stark West Bengal data showed a mirror to the Election Commission of India that till recently chose to ignore all violations of Covid-appropriate behaviour in the run up to the eight-phase elections in the state. Despite massive mask-less political rallies that created an uproar, the poll panel tried to wish them away till last week when it got a stinker from the Calcutta High Court and was forced to act.
Another worrying figure was the 1,800% spike in active cases in Uttarakhand between March 31 and April 24, which coincided with the Haridwar Maha Kumbh, indicating the mela was a possible super spreader event in the state. Prior to the Maha Kumbh, the total active cases stood at 1,863 (March 31), but they quickly ballooned to 33,330 by April 24.
India, now the worst-hit in the pandemic globally, has been reporting nearly 1,500 or more daily deaths since April 20. On Sunday, the highest 2,812 fatalities were recorded. There are also concerns that the fatality count is being majorly undercounted in most cities and towns.
In a health ministry press briefing on Monday, several government authorities, including V K Paul, member, Niti Aayog and Randeep Guleria, director, AIIMS Delhi urged patients to follow home isolation protocols unless hospitalisation is absolutely required.