Kerala professor explains why state is reporting high COVID-19 cases

The densely populated southern state is currently reporting the most number of COVID-19 cases in the country and accounts for the second-highest national tally.

Kochi: Kerala is one of the states in the country that is still showing a constant surge in the COVID-19 cases and the state government is being highly criticized for the same. The densely populated southern state is currently reporting the most number of COVID-19 cases in the country and accounts for the second-highest national tally.

Clearing the doubt on why the state is reporting so many cases, a professor from Kerala, Rijo John, who is a guest faculty at IIM Kozhikode and is a consultant at the World Health Organization (HO), took to Twitter to give some possible reasons for Kerala’s COVID-19 situation.

In a Twitter thread today, he emphasized on the importance of lockdown, vaccine, and explained the causes and possible solutions.

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John first posted a graphical representation depicting the rise in the number of cases. As per the graph, Kerala touched over 40,000 cases per day between April and July. There was a slight decline in the beginning of August but a rise was evident from August 21, reporting 20,000 cases per day.

In an article, which he wrote for The Wire, he analyzed the entire COVID-19 scenario in the state and gave an explanation that could possibly be the answer for why the cases are not falling ? Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Why are the COVID-19 case numbers in Kerala still not falling? The simple answer is that : Kerala still has a larger fraction of population that is unexposed to the virus, compared to all of India. While Kerala has about 50% of its population still susceptible to the novel coronavirus, the same is only about 30% in India. Clearly, the vulnerable population as a percentage of the total population is much higher in Kerala. This is despite the fact that the very first COVID-19 case in India was reported from Kerala.

In one of his tweets, he cleared the doubts of new variant saying that there is no variant and close to 90% of the samples in Kerala are still Delta variant, a variant that was the primary reason for the majority of cases during the 2nd wave in rest of India.

Is it the beginning of the third wave?

In another tweet, the professor answered the question that has been concerning not just people in Kerala but the entire country: is Kerala headed towards a third wave? “I do not think so. Delta variant-led 2nd wave in India did not come from Kerala. Unless Kerala’s current rise in cases is from a new variant (which is not the case), there is no reason to panic that this will lead to a 3rd wave,” he wrote in a tweet.

Adding to this, he said that Kerala has already vaccinated 75% of its adult population with at least a single dose and this might also act as a saving grace. The professor suggested the government to go for a complete lockdown for a week to control the surge in the cases and also to take some load off the health care system which cannot be bombarded with the pressure.

Lastly, giving a tint of hope he stated that the current surge will slow down in a week or so &, by then, the natural infection & vaccinations would’ve taken the population-level COVID19 immunity in Kerala to 60% to 70% level bringing it closer to the rest of India, but with much less human toll.

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