Lucknow: India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh has lost two of its sitting Cabinet ministers to the deadly Covid-19 as on Monday, it recorded the highest single-day surge in coronavirus deaths (69).
The death toll in Uttar Pradesh has reached 2,515 with the infection tally reaching 1,58,216 as per the official data provided by the state government.
The surge in the state has been recorded even as the Yogi Adityanath-led state government has been claiming to be conducting close to one lakh tests every day and imposing weekend lockdowns. Sishir Kumar, senior officer of the Team-11, which is led by the CM, wrote on Twitter on Sunday that the 90,914 samples were tested on Sunday with cumulative testing figures reaching 38,72, 640. But, a day later, close to 4,000 cases of Covid-19 were recorded with over 20 people working with the Uttar Pradesh Assembly testing positive just two days ahead of the commencement of the Monsoon Session.
On June 9, the state’s infection tally had crossed the 11,000 mark (with 11,335 cases), and since then, every 48 hours, the fresh cases count has been crossing a thousand.
However, on Monday, the total number of discharges was more than the total number of fresh cases in Uttar Pradesh, as per the official figures released by the state government.
“After a long time, the number of discharges (4,376) was higher than the fresh cases (4,186) in a day. This trend needs to be continued in the state,” Dr Sudhir Kumar, the official spokesperson of King George Medical University (KGMU).
‘Augment Human Resources Along with Infrastructure’
Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti, the former president of AIIMS Resident Doctors’ Association, in a telephonic conversation, said that watching the state government’s ongoing efforts, the future seems “really dark”.
"The COVID testing is being done only in the urban areas while in the rural areas, the situation remains unchanged. The healthcare facilities are not being enhanced as per the pandemic; people in rural areas are being treated by local doctors without getting tested and people are dying. The manpower is very less and the government is really not working on improving the human resources to deal with the pandemic. It also seems that the government is not willing to invest in healthcare and this is happening when the country is reeling under the pandemic which is yet to reach its peak. The government is underestimating the pandemic and trying to hide the data and its results can be very dangerous," he said.
Low Number of RT-PCR Tests
As per an estimate, only 1/3rd of the total tests conducted in Uttar Pradesh have been conducted through RT-PCR kits while antigen testing and TruNat testing is being done on a large scale. The rate of accuracy in antigen testing ranges between 50.6% to 84%. As a result, Tamil Nadu has stopped conducting antigen tests.
It may also be mentioned that as per the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research, symptomatic people who have tested negative in antigen tests should undergo an RT-PCR test. But, this is not happening in Uttar Pradesh.
A senior doctor working with COVID patients at King George Medical University told this reporter that only RT-PCR can help to stop the spread of the coronavirus infection because it is very accurate in comparison with the other technologies which are yet to be standardised.
Kerala’s Contact Tracing Needs to Be Imitated: Prof Able Lawrence
Able Lawrence, Professor of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology at the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, in a brief conversation with NewsClick said that only border control measures and mass testing will not contain the Covid-19 spread.
“Mass testing will not stop the spread of the virus because there are a lot of asymptomatic patients, accounting for up to 80% and the community spread is very high. It was important to overreact at the beginning, which could have slowed down the initial pace [of the spread], but now whatever you do, you cannot completely stop the virus,” he said, adding, “Kerala managed to delay the peak by having a tight border control, but other places like Delhi, Bombay had very poor border control, which resulted in a surge in the cases. Contact tracing of asymptomatic people is also a must if you really want to contain the spread, you see it was very successful in Kerala, but other states are yet to follow that religiously.”
He further said, “People are wearing masks on their chin and not covering faces properly, which is cheating. There are political events happening; marriages and other social events taking place, which are a big multiplier source and it eventually leads to the spread of the coronavirus. These events should be stopped until the situation is under control.”
On being asked about the recovery rate, the professor said, “It is subject to the rate of growth. If you look at the recovery rate, then it says the number of recovered [patients] per the number of total cases. The mortality rate is the number of deaths per the number of total cases. But what about the cases which have been discharged or being treated at home. So, this should be calculated in some other way.”
Also read: COVID-19 Lockdown Cost Livelihood of 78% Informal Sector Workers, Says Survey