The COVID-19 pandemic that is spinning out of control in the State has resulted in an enormous burden on the creaking healthcare infrastructure, with active cases surging.
From 2,62,162 active cases on April 25, the number of active cases crossed four lakh and touched 4,05,068 on Saturday. This is more than a three-fold rise than the highest active cases (1,20,270) reported last October during the first outbreak.
Indicating that the active caseload in the State has exploded beyond expectations, as many as 1,20,528 active cases have been added in the last five days alone. Over 92% (3,74,203) of the total active caseload was reported in the last one month alone.
With 2,70,993 active cases, Bengaluru alone has nearly 70% of the total active caseload in the State. With active cases continuing to surge, COVID-19 experts warned of a massive rise in deaths, as hospitals, especially in Bengaluru, are overwhelmed with the surging cases.
Giridhar R. Babu, member of the State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), said active cases are bound to surge as the test positivity rate (TPR) is increasing rapidly.
Asserting that we are still two weeks away from the peak, Dr. Babu said the cases we are seeing now are a result of the transmission that happened 7 to 14 days ago. The impact of the janata curfew (the partial lockdown that is in place now) can be seen only after the next two weeks, he said.
Pointing out that cases may start reducing two weeks into the partial lockdown, Dr. Babu said: “That does not mean we can reopen everything in one go. The existing restrictions should be well implemented and if possible there should be a total lockdown in the coming days with very few relaxations. That is what was done in Maharashtra.”
He said there is a lag time in surge in cases and surge in deaths. “The deaths reported on a particular day are pertaining to critical cases that went to ICUs 14 days ago,” he said.
C.N. Manjunath, nodal officer of labs and testing in the State’s COVID-19 task force, said it would be advisable to continue the restrictions for another week if the partial lockdown yields significant results by the end of next week. “This is essential to sustain the prevention of spread and give some more breathing time to hospitals and the healthcare system,” he said.
Effect after 10 days
Another TAC member V. Ravi, who is also the nodal officer for genomic confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 in Karnataka, said it will be foolish to conclude that cases are surging despite the lockdown. “The effects can be seen only after 10-12 days. Let us wait and watch,” he said.
Health Commissioner K.V. Trilok Chandra said nearly 90% of the total active cases are under home isolation. “As the surge is being reported from across the State, we are now admitting only those who require oxygen. We are preparing to further expand facilities and ensure no patient in need of hospitalisation is denied treatment,” he said.