Punjab is currently recovering from a man-made tragedy, a hooch tragedy, that has killed more than 120 people, and the COVID-19 pandemic has killed 586 people so far.
Since March 9, when Punjab reported its first COVID-19 case, the number of confirmed cases have steadily grown, but July, like in many other states, has been a bad month here too. On July 1 the number of confirmed cases stood at 5,668 but had climbed to 16,119 on July 31. And on August 9, Punjab reported 23,903 cases.
Ludhiana’s challenge like most urban districts is that it is thickly populated, which explains why in the district, “around 87 per cent cases reported are from urban areas while rural areas account for only 13 per cent of the cases.” Jalandhar, Patiala, and Amritsar are the other districts with as much as 12 per cent, 11 per cent, and 10 per cent of the cases. While the state headquarters, Chandigarh, is a union territory and thus is counted separately, it must be noted that it has about 1,515 COVID-19 cases so far.
As with fatalities too, Ludhiana has reported the highest percentage, with as much as 30 per cent fatalities in the State. Amritsar, with more 16 per cent deaths, follows next.
Sangrur with as many 1,281 cases has reported that 1,033 have recovered. With 36 fatalities, the district has a recovered rate of 80 per cent. Amritsar too has reported that as many as 1,853 cases of the 2,363 total confirmed cases in the district have recovered, which is a recovered rate of about 78 per cent. Hoshiarpur district with a much smaller case load of 630 confirmed cases, has reported 556 cases of recoveries and 15 deaths, which makes it the district with the highest recovery rate.
The chart above shows the most infected districts, with the dates adjusted to when the district reached its first hundred cases.
Punjab, though, with a cumulative total of 6,59,284 tests, is conducting just about 22,292 tests per million. That’s even less that neighbouring Jammu and Kashmir. Of the tests per million conducted on August 9, 792 were confirmed cases.
A look at the cases per week against the tests conducted per week shows a steady increase in the number of cases from just about 1,067 in the beginning of July to 6,050 cases in the past week.
Given the low rate of testing and the steep increase in cases in July, the continuing steep trajectory of cases in many of the districts in the state is seriously concerning. Following the hooch tragedy the knives are out in the ruling Congress party, with dissidents attacking the chief minister. Given the enormity of what is at stake with the COVID-19 pandemic, the government cannot allow political distractions to become excuses for letting their guard down.