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Covid cases: why Kerala may be a “victim” of its own “success” | India News


NEW DELHI: Kerala overtook Maharashtra to become the second worst affected state in the country in January.
The surge in the number of cases in Kerala left everyone guessing, as the state itself was hailed as a successful model for controlling the pandemic during the first days of the outbreak.
A recent report released by the Kerala government shed some light on why Kerala has been on the receiving end of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kerala’s effectiveness in identifying and reporting the spread of infection and a large number of uninfected population are possible reasons for the increase in the number of cases in the state, according to the report.
The virus in Kerala is not as widespread as in the rest of India
According to the latest serosurvey report released by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), antibodies to coronavirus were prevalent in 21% of the country’s population. However, in Kerala, the survey revealed that antibodies were prevalent in only 11% of the population.

The virus in Kerala, according to the report, has not spread as much as in other states in the country. This is due to the effectiveness of the strong containment measures adopted by the state administration.

The state has prudently implemented measures such as quarantine, contact tracing, rapid case detection through better access to tests and isolation of positive Covid-19 cases, detecting the formation of groups at the beginning through surveillance measures. and containment within groups and the ‘breaking chain measures.
Transparent identification and notification
The study further indicated that the proportion of unidentified cases in Kerala is much lower than the national average.
By extrapolating the results of the sero survey, it was found that Kerala has identified and reported 1 in 6 actual cases. On the other hand, the country has identified only 1 of 30 real cases notified.

In other words, for every 100 actual cases, Kerala has successfully identified and reported almost 17 cases, while the country has only been able to identify and report around 3 cases.
Large population susceptible to the virus
The large part of the uninfected population means that large proportions of Keralites are still susceptible to Covid-19.
According to the sero survey, 5 of the 30 clusters in Kerala had a seroprevalence of zero. This means that there are still communities in the state where Covid-19 has not penetrated.
In places where a large part of the population has developed antibodies, the chances of the virus infecting people are limited. Therefore, the spread of the virus is not as widespread.
In places where communities have not been affected by the spread of the coronavirus, there is considerable scope for the virus to infect people.
The presence of zero seroprevalence clusters in Kerala means that virus cases will continue to rise in the state, the report noted.
Different strain of Covid-19 virus
However, there is another theory that suggests that a different strain of the Sars-CoV-2 virus may be responsible for an increase in cases from Kerala and Maharashtra.
“We will have to investigate whether there is any mutant strain of coronavirus circulating in the state that is causing an outbreak in daily infection,” the director of the Indian Institute of Medical Sciences, Dr. Randeep Guleria told the IANS news agency. .
Movement restriction and demographics
Guleria said the state witnessed an increase in cases after it lifted restrictions on movement. He also said the state’s demographics could be one of the other reasons for the increase in the number of cases.
“A large number of people (Kerala) are elderly and suffer from comorbid diseases. This fact could also be affecting the appearance of Covid-19 in the state,” Guleria added.
Dr Lalit Kant, former director of epidemiology and communicable diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research, said that demographics play a huge role in the spread of disease. “The age structure of the population and the presence of chronic diseases among them are some of the decisive factors for the spread of a disease,” he said.
Dr Kant said that the prevalence of chronic diseases and the proportion of the elderly population is quite high in Kerala and Maharashtra. He cited the NFHS-5 findings that one in three people in Kerala and one in four in Maharashtra are obese. “In Kerala, up to 38% of the population was obese, while in Maharashtra 25% were reported,” Kant said.
“Similarly, diabetes is also quite high in both states. Kerala accounts for 27%, while 12% in Maharashtra shows the disease,” he added.
The former head of ICMR also shared that 30% of the Kerala population are hypertension patients, while its prevalence in the Maharashtra population is around 25%.
According to NFHS-5, the projected percentage of population over 60 in 2021 in Kerala is 16%, while in Maharashtra it is 11%.

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