The daily count of new Covid cases in Bengal has been up and down over the past few days and experts said it might be clear in the next fortnight whether a fresh wave is imminent in the state.
In the last seven days, the daily new Covid cases had gone up from 23 on April 19 to 41 on 24th and down to 19 on 25th, according to the state health department.
The number went up again to 36 on April 26 and 52 on 27th. For several days at a stretch in early April, the daily new case count stayed below 20.
The diagnostic laboratory of a private hospital in Kolkata on Monday reported a Covid positive result after almost one-and-a-half months.
A health department official pointed out that the comparatively low number on April 25 could be because of the low number of tests that day.
Public health experts and doctors said that though there was no need to panic, it was not yet time to drop one’s guard, which is exactly what people across Kolkata have been doing.
“There is no need to panic. But the coming fortnight will be very important and it is to be seen whether the rising trend continues,” said Abhijit Chowdhury, public health expert and coordinator of the Mamata Banerjee government’s Covid management team.
Doctors said the uptick in daily new cases should be taken as an early warning.
“If we don’t start taking safety measures now, there can be another surge. There are many people who are not wearing masks. One has to remember that the Covid numbers are again rising in some parts of India,” said Chandramouli Bhattacharya, infectious disease expert at Peerless Hospital.
The Telegraph has written several times how hundreds of Kolkatans are moving around in public places without masks. Public health experts said people were under the impression that Covid was gone, a flawed conclusion drawn from the sharp fall in cases since the latest surge in January, and even if the virus returned, it would cause only mild disease.
According to the state health department, 271 Covid patients are in home isolation and 17 in hospitals on April 27.
“The infection may be mild but it can create complications for those who are suffering from other critical ailments,” said a doctor.
Peerless Hospital reported one Covid positive case on Monday, said officials of the hospital. The patient, a resident of Survey Park in south Kolkata’s Santoshpur, had got tested at the hospital’s laboratory.
“This was the first positive case at our hospital laboratory in about one-and-a-half months” said Sudipta Mitra, chief executive of Peerless Hospital.
Despite the fear of a fresh rise in cases, Belle Vue Clinic on Tuesday converted all its Covid beds into non-Covid ones.
“No Covid patient has taken admission at our hospital and no one has tested positive at our laboratory in more than 15 days. So we decided to do away with all Covid beds. If required, we can convert some beds into isolation units immediately,” said Pradip Tondon, CEO of Belle Vue.
Some other hospitals like Medica Superspecialty Hospital and AMRI said they too did not have any Covid patients in weeks. However, they have kept a few beds reserved for Covid patients.