The daily new Covid infection count in Bengal has ranged between 500 and 700 over the past few weeks.
A section of the state administration sees this — the count not spiralling despite most businesses opening up — as a positive sign.
“There is no room for complacency,” said public health expert Abhijit Chowdhury. “We have to wait till the festive season is over before saying that the numbers are in control. The more people come out to shop and dine, the more are the chances of a fresh surge.”
Public health experts, however, stressed that it was too early to predict anything and warned against dropping the guard, more so because the festive season is approaching.
On September 1, Bengal recorded 679 new Covid cases, with Kolkata accounting for 106 of them.
On August 31, the count stood at 540, of which 92 were reported from Kolkata.
On August 30, 510 cases were reported from across the state and 81 from Kolkata. And the day before, the state recorded 650 cases and Kolkata 87.
On August 1, the state had recorded 701 new cases and Kolkata only 60.
At private hospitals in the city, the number of Covid patients admitted has remained the same. So are the number of people turning up to get tested.
“Over the past two months, we had a maximum of 20 and a minimum of nine patients at a time,” said Pradip Tondon, CEO of Belle Vue Clinic.
About a dozen Covid patients are being treated at the RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences. The number has remained almost the same for the past two months.
“The positivity rate of Covid tests in our hospital has been varying between 2.5 and 5 per cent for the last two months,” said R. Venkatesh, regional director, east, Narayana Health, of which the Mukundapur hospital is the flagship unit.
“The case count has been varying between 500 and 700 for the past two months. We would have been happier if it went down further. What is reassuring, however, is that the count has not shot up despite the reopening of most facilities. We expect the numbers will not rise sharply unless a very contagious variant of the virus emerges,” said an official of the state government who did not want to be named.
He, however, expressed the fear that the situation might worsen if people stopped adhering to the safety norms.
The official said they were keeping a close watch on the Covid situation and were conducting a vaccination survey.
“More than 4 crore people in Bengal have been vaccinated, of whom more than 1 crore have received both doses. Around 20 per cent of the vaccinated contracted the virus post-inoculation but very few of them had to be admitted to hospital,” said the official.
The government has adopted an aggressive vaccination drive, as part of which semi-urban and rural areas, too, will be brought under the focus.
As many as 12.95 lakh people were vaccinated in the state on Tuesday, the highest single-day figure since the drive was launched in January. Murshidabad accounted for 1.5 lakh doses, North 24-Parganas 92,000 doses and Kolkata 60,000 doses.
The vaccination drive has so far focussed more on urban areas, where chances of the spread of the disease are high because of high population density.
Kolkata Municipal Cor-poration officials feel one reason for the daily case count varying between 700 and 500, and not going up further, was the focus so far on urban areas.
“We have been able to vaccinate a good number of people in Kolkata because of which the number is not going up beyond a point despite the opening up of businesses,” said Atin Ghosh, a member of the board of administrators of the KMC in charge of the health department.
As for the count not going down below a point, he said one reason could be violation of the mask norm by a large number of people.