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Children hang their face masks in the nets and play a game of soccer during the COVID-19 pandemic in Kochi, Kerala, India (AP)
Children hang their face masks in the nets and play a game of soccer during the COVID-19 pandemic in Kochi, Kerala, India (AP)

Active covid cases decline in 23 states in two weeks, but Kerala biggest hotspot

Active cases have declined in 23 states in the last two weeks. But in Kerala, the count has doubled in this period.

India reported its first sustained decline in the number of active coronavirus cases in the last two weeks. Just 13% of all cases remain under treatment now. As many as 23 states and union territories have fewer active cases now than they had two weeks ago.

But all is not well in the state that had seen early success in taming the virus. Kerala’s burden of active cases has risen more than two-fold over the last two weeks, to 92,246. This is a tenth of the total count in India. Only Maharashtra and Karnataka have more, but their spreads are much slower.

Eight of the 10 districts with the worst spikes in infections in the last week are in Kerala. The case-load jumped over 20% in all 14 districts of the state in this period, data from howindialives.com showed. Testing in the state is the highest per million population, with around 8 lakh samples tested in the last two weeks.

Karnataka, which was the biggest hotspot in July, is another point of worry. Active cases rose 11% in the last seven days, the second worst growth rate after Kerala. The outbreak in Chhattisgarh has slowed down, but deaths are rising fast (24% weekly growth). Typically, a decline in new cases reflects in a slowdown in deaths only after a few weeks.

All calculations are based on seven-day rolling averages to minimize the effect of volatile and delayed reporting. National and state-wise data are from the Union health ministry.

Chhattisgarh became the 15th state to cross 1,000 deaths this week. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka’s tolls are very close to 10,000 each. Andhra Pradesh (6,086 deaths) now has the fifth highest toll after surpassing Delhi (5,616). The pace of increase in deaths has improved across most states.

With this, India has 105,526 covid-related deaths as of Thursday morning, an 8% weekly jump. Among the states with at least 500 deaths, Chhattisgarh (24%), Kerala (24%), and Assam (15%) observed the biggest rise in their toll this week.

The number of active cases declined 3% to 902,425—the tally had risen 1% two weeks ago. As many as 19 states and union territories have more than 10,000 active cases now, but all except Chhattisgarh and Kerala have crossed the 80% mark in recovery rate, or the share of patients who have been discharged.

Among the 253 districts with at least 5,000 cases so far, the biggest weekly growth was reported by Kozhikode (42%), Ernakulam (40%), Thrissur (39%), Kollam (39%) and Palakkad (34%), all in Kerala, the howindialives.com data showed.

Among the 10 states with the most active cases, Kerala and Assam have conducted the most tests per million population over the last fortnight, and Chhattisgarh and West Bengal the fewest, data from covid19india.org showed.

India’s total count of coronavirus patients has risen to 6,835,655 as of Thursday morning. The country accounted for 26% of the 4.3 million cases reported globally over the last two weeks, the highest in the world. After rising steadily, India’s share in the global death count has reached 10%. In just the last 14 days, the country accounted for 18% of nearly 80,000 deaths, also the highest share.

Globally, the coronavirus case count has crossed 36 million, including over 1.05 million deaths and nearly 25.2 million recoveries (70%), data from Johns Hopkins University showed.

However, many more cases may have gone unreported. Earlier this week, Michael Ryan, the top emergency expert at the World Health Organization, said the “best estimates" indicate that 10% of the global population may have been infected by the coronavirus. Serosurveys, which are large-scale tests for antibodies against the virus, have hinted the same in Indian cities.

With slowing spread, large Indian states finally showed signs of economic revival in September. The centre has allowed states to decide on opening cinema halls in a limited manner. As the economy gets back on track, Indians are hoping that the latest slowdown in the pandemic will sustain and the curve will finally flatten.

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