Many states recording higher peak of COVID cases than Sept cause of concern: Govt

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New Delhi, Apr 30 (PTI) The Centre on Friday expressed concern that many states are not only recording higher peak of coronavirus cases than in September last year but also seeing a high growth trajectory.

At a press conference, Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said the country witnessed its first peak in September and is witnessing another peak in April.

Some countries have also witnessed a third wave of COVID-19, he said.

Agarwal said Karnataka, Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Odisha are not only recording higher peaks, but also high growth trajectory.

The states should focus on containment, COVID-appropriate behaviour and vaccination, he said.

'We saw many states that witnessed a peak in September are recording high numbers and this has put health infrastructure under stress and it is very important for them to work on this,' the joint secretary said.

He cited the example of Maharashtra which saw 24,886 cases in September but in April it scaled a new height of 68,631 infections which is 2.8 times higher.

Uttar Pradesh saw 5.4 times more cases in April than September. Chhattisgarh 4.5 times, Delhi 3.3 times, Rajasthan 5 five and Andhra Pradesh 1.4 times more cases than September last year, Agarwal said.

About the fatalities, he said from February 4-17, Maharashtra contributed 34.3 per cent of the total deaths, followed by Kerala 18.2 per cent and Punjab 6.4 per cent. The rest of the country contributed to 41.1 per cent of the total deaths during that period, Agarwal said.

From February 18 to March 3, Maharashtra recorded 45.2 per cent of the total deaths in the country, followed by Kerala 14.7 per cent and Punjab 10.3 per cent. Between March 4 and 17, Maharashtra recorded 44.6 per cent of the total deaths, followed by Punjab 16.3 per cent and Kerala 11.5 per cent, he said.

Between March 18 and 31, Maharashtra contributed to 41.6 per cent of the total deaths, followed by Punjab 19.7 per cent, Chhattisgarh 6.5 per cent and 32.1 per cent by the rest. From April 1-14, Maharashtra contributed 42.7 per cent of the total deaths, followed by Chhattisgarh 11 per cent, Punjab 8.3 per cent and the rest of the states 38.1 per cent.

From April 15-28, Maharashtra contributed to 26.3 per cent of the total deaths, followed by Delhi 12.3 per cent, Chhattisgarh 8.9 per cent and the rest of the states 52.5 per cent, the joint secretary said.

AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria said that in the second wave of the pandemic, the rate of the rise in infection has been rapid which has put immense strain on health infrastructure for some time.

'Also, doubling of COVID-19 cases has been rapid. That should ease if turnover time reduces.' He observed that this time, coronavirus infection is spreading in tier two and three cities. 'So, it is important to train doctors about treating this new disease,' Guleria said and underlined avoiding misuse of drugs like remdesivir and tocilizumab.

'Systemic oral steroids are not indicated in case of mild disease and may be counter-productive especially if started too early. One should consult doctors before starting it,' he said. PTI PR/PLB NSD NSD