Why COVID-19 cases are still high in Kerala? Health experts seek answers

A man walk past a mural on novel coronavirus in Thiruvananthapuram, October 3 , 2021. Photo: PTI

Thiruvananthapuram: Health experts have sought a scientific study into the higher prevalence of COVID-19 in Kerala compared to other States. They point out that there is not much reduction in the number of COVID-19 cases in the State even though the other Indian States have managed to rein in the pandemic to a great extent.

Of the total 15,786 COVID cases reported in the country on Thursday, 8,733 patients belonged to Kerala. Of the daily COVID-19 deaths in the country, 40 per cent are now reported from the State. On the brighter side, though, the reporting of fewer complicated cases and the recent dip in the death rate due to the disease have brought some kind of relief to the State.

Of the total COVID-19 positive cases reported in the State now, only 9.9 per cent need to be admitted to hospitals. So, the COVID-19 situation is not alarming in the State, some argue.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had earlier cited the ICMR's serosurvey results that only 44 per cent of the State possess the required antibodies in their bodies to resist the pandemic. This was the reason for the spurt in the number of cases in July and August 2021.

But later, Kerala conducted its own serosurvey study in which 82 per cent of people were found to be possessing antibodies. It was also found that the antibodies were present in about 70 per cent of people, who had not taken vaccines.

Representational image: IANS

How far has vaccination helped?

The first dose of the vaccine against COVID-19 was given to 94.17 per cent of the population in Kerala. The second dose was administered to 47.03 per cent of people. But what is worrisome is that the COVID-19 cases are still high despite the massive vaccination drive.

Health experts warn the government of further setbacks unless the government takes steps to study whether any kind of mutation occurred to the COVID-19 virus and, if so, then change the containment strategies accordingly.

Centre proposes genetic testings

The Union Government had recently written a letter to the State Chief Secretary, seeking conduct of genetic testings to find out the reasons for the increasing spread of COVID-19 among those who have taken vaccines and among those who have already been inflicted with the pandemic. Such cases are high in Kerala.

But according to some experts, the government is still remaining silent on questions on whether any study on the above said aspect had been undertaken or if such a study was undertaken, what were the results.

What is the solution?

According to a section of health experts, the government should not give much credence to the serosurvey report that 82 per cent of people have antibodies in their bodies to resist the COVID-19 pandemic. They say that even if there are antibodies present in the bodies, it might be lacking the strength to resist the pandemic. So, the only solution is the complete vaccination of the population.

The government is trying to give the first dose to the maximum number of people. But the resistance power will be acquired only after one month after vaccination. Moreover, the administration of the second dose is a must. Almost half of those who had taken the first dose was given the second dose in the State.

As per the decision of the Central Government, only 75 per cent of the population will be given free doses of vaccination. Those who are financially better off would take the vaccines first. So, a situation will reach where ordinary people will be forced to buy vaccines by spending more money out of their pockets. The government should formulate a policy to avoid such a situation where ordinary people will be the worst hit.

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