Analysis: Lockdown helped India’s worst-affected states in combating second COVID-19 wave

The second wave set in without any forewarning other than a steadily escalating curve. Across India, the second half of February recorded a rise in COVID-19 cases, and lockdowns were enforced soon after. 

“Lockdown, I would say is the biggest factor in arriving at a situation where we are now, when daily cases from 28,000 have come down to about 8,500,” B L Sherwal, medical director of Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital (RGSSH), told PTI. While the lockdowns may have tamped down on the full extent of destruction which the second wave was capable of, it has not stopped a record number of people from being affected by the virus. 

The impact of the lockdown was felt in spheres of life other than health, as the migrant crisis rose anew and the economy slowed down. 

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Here’s how the 5 worst-affected states handled the second wave and the effect of the lockdowns.

Andhra Pradesh

The Andhra Pradesh government imposed a state-wide partial lockdown starting from May 5 in the face of rising COVID-19 cases. In the two weeks before the lockdown was implemented, there was an average of 14,860 new cases per day. 20,810 new cases were registered per day on an average in the two weeks after the beginning of the lockdown. Similarly, the average number of deaths increased from 58 to 92 a day in the 2 weeks before and after May 5.

But although the gross number of active cases and deaths increased, the rate of it decreased significantly. The slope of the curve for new cases dropped from 739.69 to 63.14 in the two weeks preceding and succeeding the lockdown, respectively. In a similar fashion, the rate of deaths fell from 3.38 to 1.07 pre and post-May 5.

Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu also remains one of the most affected states with roughly 23 lakh active cases. It also had been in lockdown for more than a month, since May 8. It used to have a 14-day-average of 21,305 positive cases per day before the lockdown. Being in lockdown for more than 30 days, the average has only increased to 22,492 cases a day. The mortality rate has also seen a steep hike. From a 14-day average of 149 deaths a day, it has seen an increase to an average of 438 per day. 

Though the average number of cases (pre-lockdown period and now) does not show a decrease and remains roughly the same, the number of cases after it reached the peak has been reducing consistently. Also, the curve has been flattening significantly. TPR also shows a reduction from an average of 16% before lockdown to 9.96 per cent currently. All these indicate that the lockdown has helped the state in reducing the impact of COVID-19. 

Kerala

With approximately 27 lakh active cases, Kerala continues to be one of the states with the most number of active cases. Kerala has been in lockdown for more than a month now, since May 8. It used to have a 14-day-average of 33,882 cases per day before the lockdown. The strict lockdown has helped bring down the cases to an average of 16,567 cases a day. But mortality associated with COVID-19 has seen a sharp increase during the period: from a 14-day average of 95 deaths per day, it has roughly doubled to an average of 182 deaths a day. 

These deaths do not point to the inefficacy of the lockdown and a reduction in the mortality rate associated with the lockdown can be observed only in the days to come. The Total Positivity Rate (TPR) has also come down from an average of 24.74 per cent to 14.58 per cent. The curve has also been flattening consistently in the state. Thus, the statistics show that the lockdown has indeed been helpful in significantly reducing the cases in the state.

Karnataka

Karnataka is the second most affected State of India that is badly hit by COVID-19 and records total cases of 27.3 lakhs whereas the recovered people are around 24.8 lakhs and a total death toll of 32,291 till now. Lockdowns were imposed on May 10, weeks after the closedown phase which was earlier implemented to curb the spike. The average daily cases before two weeks of the lockdown were recorded around 40000 and fatalities were about 280 each day on an average whereas after the strict imposition of lockdown the cases were recorded lower of around 32,000 on average but fatalities rose to new heights of 433 on daily basis.

The BJP-led government by chief minister B.S Yediyurappa recently advised its party leaders to concentrate more on tackling COVID cases than to involve in signature campaigns.

Maharashtra

Maharashtra was the worst-hit state of India in the second wave of COVID 19. In the early days of the second wave, the health minister of the state Rajesh Tope said, “Lockdown is not an option but restrictions will be made more strict.” The ignorance and poor management of the covid lead to the rise of an average of 60,000 cases daily and death on an average of 556 two weeks before the strict restrictions were imposed. After heavy restrictions and night curfew from May 14, the cases came down to 49,693 on an average daily basis, where fatalities were recorded less of around 276 per day on average.

The lockdown has been extended till June 15 and the government is now planning to ease restrictions in a phased manner.

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