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Covid count crosses 2,000 after 5 months

Health authorities recorded 2,151 lab-confirmed cases over the previous 24 hours while the count of active Covid-19 patients rose to 11,900, a near-five-fold increase over the count a month ago, according to health ministry data

G.S. Mudur New Delhi Published 30.03.23, 04:56 AM
The number of districts with unacceptably large test positivity rates (TPR) of 10 per cent or higher has increased from 14 districts in six states two weeks ago to 44 districts in 18 states.

The number of districts with unacceptably large test positivity rates (TPR) of 10 per cent or higher has increased from 14 districts in six states two weeks ago to 44 districts in 18 states. File picture

New Delhi: India’s health ministry on Wednesday documented more than 2,000 daily new Covid-19 cases for the first time in over five months as the epidemic continues to grow, fuelled by a coronavirus variant named XBB.1.116.

Health authorities recorded 2,151 lab-confirmed cases over the previous 24 hours while the count of active Covid-19 patients rose to 11,900, a near-five-fold increase over the count a month ago, according to health ministry data.

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The number of districts with unacceptably large test positivity rates (TPR) of 10 per cent or higher has increased from 14 districts in six states two weeks ago to 44 districts in 18 states. A high TPR is a signal of a large epidemic or lower-than-required testing rates. The TPR should be as low as possible.

Genome sequencing efforts have indicated that the current increase in cases is driven by XBB.1.116, a sublineage of the omicron variant that had fuelled India’s third Covid-19 wave in January 2022, with similar levels of low disease severity.

“For now, the disease profile remains similar to what we’ve seen over the past year,” said Rahul Pandit, director of critical care at Fortis Hospital, Mumbai, and a member of Maharashtra’s Covid-19 task force.

Experts have attributed the low rates of disease severity and mortality observed under omicron and its sublineages to immunity acquired by vaccination or previous Covid-19 infections or both. Some have predicted that this pattern is unlikely to change under any omicron sublineages.

Amid the rise in infections and active cases, the number of Covid-19 deaths too have increased — one death on March 15 to four on March 28. But doctors say most deaths over the past year have occurred among vulnerable patients such as those with serious underlying chronic health disorders.

“The focus should remain on early detection of clusters, genome sequencing and protection of vulnerable people such as the elderly and those with comorbidities by encouraging the use of face masks and avoiding crowds,” Pandit said.

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