For the longest time, Kerala held the claim to be the most successful model against Covid-19. But the pandemic pushed it off the podium as infections continue to explode in the southern state. Uttar Pradesh, which was widely derided for its alleged mismanagement of the Covid situation in the second wave, on the other hand, is emerging triumphant.
Let’s look at the contrasting picture. Kerala with its 3.5 crore population, on August 25 reported 31,445 new cases, a bulk of the total cases reported in the country. Uttar Pradesh, the biggest state with a population of nearly 24 crore, meanwhile reported just 22 cases in the same period. Two days ago, just seven fresh positive cases were reported from Uttar Pradesh. Kerala reported 215 deaths on August 25 while Uttar Pradesh only reported two deaths. In fact, no deaths have been reported from Uttar Pradesh in recent days. There are only 345 active cases in Uttar Pradesh now while Kerala’s figure is at 1.7 lakh.
Kerala has maintained that it is conducting a high number of tests and hence more cases are coming to light. But this argument fails when compared to Uttar Pradesh.
Sample this – Kerala conducted 1.65 lakh tests in a day to find 31,445 positive cases at a high test positivity rate of 19.03% on August 25. The same day, Uttar Pradesh did 1.87 lakh tests to only find 22 positive patients at a test positivity rate of 0.01%. Over 60% of the tests done in UP, at 1.15 lakh, were RT-PCR while only 38% of the tests done in Kerala, at 62,428, were RT-PCR. The RT-PCR test is the gold standard for detecting Covid-19.
Festivals to blame?
Overall, UP has done nearly 7.10 crore tests in all at nearly 32,000 tests per lakh population while Kerala has done a total of 3.06 crore tests but at a higher coverage rate of nearly 87,000 tests per lakh population. Kerala seems to be paying the price for the relaxations allowed during the Bakrid festival and now Onam amidst a Central team finding lot of loopholes in the contact tracing and containment strategies in the state. Uttar Pradesh on the other hand had kept a weekend lockdown in place since the second wave but has lifted the same in two stages this month given the drastic drop in the cases.
A senior Uttar Pradesh government official said 16 out of the 75 districts in the state had no active Covid case presently and many districts were also not reporting any fresh case. While active cases in Uttar Pradesh are reducing day-by-day, they are going up in Kerala on a daily basis. Kerala had cited a low fatality rate to claim a successful model against Covid but while nearly 20,000 people have died in the state, Uttar Pradesh with nearly seven-times more population than Kerala has reported 22,700 Covid-19 deaths in all.
Kerala has done a much better job in vaccination coverage with 56% of its population being vaccinated with one dose and 20% of the population being fully vaccinated with a total of 2.66 crore doses being administered. Uttar Pradesh had given over 6.5 crore doses, the maximum in the country, but only 25% of people have got their first dose while less than 5% of people are fully vaccinated. Given the present Covid numbers, Uttar Pradesh seems to be trumping Kerala for the tag of the most successful model against Covid.