Bengaluru saw 7.2 lakh Covid cases, 8,700+ deaths in April-May | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: A total of 7.2 lakh Covid-19 cases and 8,716 deaths were reported in Bengaluru over the past 61 days (from April 1 to May 31). Experts said caution should be the watchword after the tidal surge of infections as the city braces for relaxation of lockdown in the coming days.
On April 1, Bengaluru had nearly 4.4 lakh Covid cases in all, and it rose to 11.6 lakh by May 31. The cases hit a peak on April 30 when the city reported 26,756 cases, the highest for any city in the country barring Delhi. Deaths peaked in the city on May 10, with 374 fatalities.
Clinicians working in Covid wards termed the first two weeks of May “most horrifying” as the daily positivity rate zoomed to 55%, beds remained unavailable, liquid medical oxygen and antiviral drug remdesivir were scarce. “Many deaths occurred due to lack of bed, apart from late presentation at hospitals,” a doctor said.
Though Bengaluru is reporting less than 4,000 fresh cases in the past few days, lockdown restrictions must be tapered, according to experts. In 2020, after the lockdown was lifted, Bengaluru witnessed a surge in August and September. An expert told TOI that the state is now testing only symptomatic persons and contacts of positive persons. “From targeted testing, we need to move on to rampant testing as cases are likely to surge again when the lockdown is relaxed.
Several people who left Bengaluru for hometowns are set to return. Another surge is for sure when the restrictions are lifted,” the expert said.
According to Dr MK Sudarshan, chairperson, Covid-19 technical advisory committee, the reasons for a surge in the past two months are many. “Multiple variants have moved around. This was a tsunami-like surge. Population mobility and density, and intense socio-economic activities that took place in the past months have also led to the surge. Intense transmission and various strains in circulation are the major causes,” said Dr Sudarshan.
A member of the Covid task force committee said that in several meetings, the message has been conveyed to the government not to repeat the mistakes of last year.
“The current decline of Covid-19 in Karnataka is an outcome of various factors — infection’s epidemiological progression, transmission dynamics, ‘Corona Curfew’ from April 26, followed by stringent lockdown from May 10,” said Dr US Vishal Rao, Covid expert committee member.
According to Dr Vishal, the seven-day moving average of the Covid test positivity rate needs to be considered a good indicator on widespread community transmission. “We need to unlock in a phased manner using the end-of-circuit-breaker model deployed in Singapore. In this model, in phase one, only low-transmission-risk economic activities could be allowed, but social and entertainment activities should be strictly prohibited,” he explained.
Dr Vishal added that during the unlocking process, the need is to augment the containment strategies and prevent large cluster formations. “If at any time, the test positivity rate rises above 5%, the state should bring back the restrictions,” he said.

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Sagar Biswas

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