Karnataka: New wave may be severe, say experts as Covid cases climb | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: With Karnataka now reporting more than 2,500 Covid-19 cases a day, experts have warned that the second wave could be severe. Health minister K Sudhakar also expressed concerns about the surge on Saturday.
“There are about 2.8 lakh cases in Maharashtra, 24,000 in Kerala, 22,000 in Punjab and 19,000 in Karnataka. It is clear that the second wave has begun. If we don’t curb activities, the danger is imminent,” he said, urging citizens to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. He added that Karnataka’s daily positivity rate of 1.6 per cent was slightly higher than the national average of 1.5 per cent.
According to epidemiologist Dr Giridhara R Babu, a member of the state technical advisory committee on Covid-19, multiple factors are at play and there are some unanswered questions. “We don’t know what proportion of the current cases are reinfections. We don’t know because the patients probably didn’t know it the first time in the absence of symptoms,” he said. Antibodies that work against coronavirus may have waned and the same strain may have resulted in reinfection.
Dr Babu is concerned about the spread of newer variants of the virus. According to a recent study by Nimhans, 34 lineages of the virus have been detected in Bengaluru. “The new variants might be more infectious, spreading among people in a shorter period. But this has not been proved. The surge is real and we need to find out why it is happening. For this, we will have to track a group of people who had Covid-19 earlier and test them again,” he said.
The government also needs to commission cell culture or in vitro studies to ascertain how fast new variants spread. “If resources are made available, there are several advanced laboratories where this research work can be conducted,” he added.
Another way to understand the virus transmission rate is by conducting contact tracing and identifying the variant in the index case. The same should be checked among the primary and secondary contacts. “The results should be compared with the infectiousness of other variants,” Dr Babu said, adding the pace of vaccination must pick up.
Dr CN Manjunath said the latest infection trends should be analysed. “It’s too early to say whether the second wave is going to be worse. The impact of the resurgence of the old strain, in addition to new
Oppn, govt argue over numbers
Opposition leader Siddaramaiah on Saturday accused the state government of lying about the Covid-19 deaths, claiming the health and planning & statistics departments had mentioned different figures. “The health department said 12,090 people died because of Covid-19 in the state till December 2020, while the statistics department put this figure at 22,320. Which one is true?” Siddaramaiah asked.
He alleged that the government had also lied about procurement of medical supplies (masks, sanitisers, PPE kits) and demanded a white paper on the actual number of Covid-19 cases, including deaths, treatment details and compensation paid.
Health minister K Sudhakar termed the allegations as false. “The government has no intention to hide statistics. It is not possible to hide or fudge data,” he said. On the different figures cited by the said departments, he said the chief registrar of births and deaths had clarified that the numbers were provisional entries and subject to reconciliation.

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Sagar Biswas

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