A year on from its first case, AP fourth on national COVID chart with a tally of 8.91 lakh

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By Surya Desaraju Amaravati, Mar 12 (PTI): A staggering 8,91,178 people were infected with the coronavirus disease in Andhra Pradesh in 365 days since the state recorded its first case an Italy returnee on this day last year.

The state now stands fourth in the countrys COVID-19 chart behind Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka.

It averaged 2,441.58 COVID-19 cases per day in the last one year.

It was on March 12, 2020, the state reported its first COVID-19 case when a man who returned to Nellore from Italy tested positive. The seond case was recorded a week later.

Through lockdown 1.0 (from March 24) to lockdown 4.0 (May 31), 3,668 coronavirus cases were registered in the state, at an average of 53.9 per day in 68 days.

The government authorities had attributed the exponential surge in Covid-19 virulence in AP to outsiders (people coming from other states and countries) after Unlock 1.0 but the last such cases (10) were reported on July 17.

In all 2,461 people from other states and 434 foreign returnees tested positive for coronavirus after the Unlock (from June 1).

When it saw a peak in the months of August-September last year, Andhra Pradesh once ranked second in the country in total pandemic infections but the curve took a dip in subsequent months and seemed to have flattened, though there has been a little rise in cases once again in the last few days.

Health Department officials, however, have not confirmed whether the state was heading for a so-called second wave now as the infection positivity rate was well below one per cent.

The government has spent about Rs 1,100 crore on COVID-19 care, including infra creation.

On August 1 last year, a record 12,750 COVID-19 patients had recovered in a day in the state.

The highest toll in a day (97 each) was reported on August 14 and 22 while a record number of 10,830 fresh infections were reported on August 26, the peak.

Government data revealed that between August 1 and 31, a total of 2,84,562 coronavirus cases were reported in the state, 2,53,912 patients had recovered and 2,562 died, which were by far the largest numbers in a month.

The peak was so high in August last that the infection positivity rate shot up to 16.89 per cent.

From zero during the initial days of the pandemic, a record number of 88,780 tests were conducted in a day on November 1 as the state government ramped up required infrastructure, creating 150 laboratories in quick time.

More than 1.44 crore tests were conducted so far, that turned out an overall infection positivity rate of 6.19 per cent.

With a recovery rate of 99.1 per cent (8,82,841) and case fatality ratio of 0.8 per cent (7,179), the active caseload percentage now was only 0.1 (1,158).

So far, the state has vaccinated aroud nine lakh people, including frontline workers.

Notable among those who succumbed to the deadly contagion in the state were Tirupati MP B Durga Prasad, MLC Challa Ramakrishna Reddy and former minister P Manikyala Rao.

The COVID-19 spread in AP first began with the return of natives from countries like UK and the USA and then through the super spreaders in the form of Tablig-i-Jamaat attendees, which resulted in a spurt in cases initially in districts like Guntur, Kurnool, Kadapa and Anantapuramu.

The Koyambedu super spreaders from Chennai's wholesale market came next, infecting hundreds of people in Chittoor and SPS Nellore, bordering Tamil Nadu, Prakasam and even the far- off Srikakulam district that remained immune for more than a month-and-a-half.

Some truck drivers and workers from other states were identified as the source of widespread infection in Vijayawada city and parts of East Godavari.

East Godavari, where the 'carefree lifestyle' of the people also contributed to the virulent spread of the disease, topped the state chart with 1.24 lakh cases though it now has only 86 people under treatment.

Some districts like Chittoor, Srikakulam and Guntur, where mMassive public events were organised by political leaders, also saw rampant spread of the pandemic.

An 85-year-old woman in Hindupur of Anantapuramu district was the oldest survivor of COVID-19 in the state while the youngest to succumb to it was aged just three. PTI DBV VS VS