Eight and a half month after the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in Kerala, the state has recorded more than a thousand deaths due to the pandemic. Twenty five more people were reported to have died due to COVID-19 on Sunday, October 11, taking the toll to 1,004.
Kerala, which has been witnessing spikes in thousands in September, had 9,347 new cases on Sunday, out of 61,629 samples tested in the last 24 hours. This means the test positivity rate or TPR is more than 15% for the day. It was higher on Saturday, when Kerala recorded its highest number of single-day cases so far with 11,755 cases out of 66,228 samples and had a TPR of more than 17%.
TPR and death per million are two factors that had remarkably remained low for the state in earlier months. With the number of deaths now reaching 25, the death per million is 28.85. Death per day, on an average had remained below 2 in July, rose to 7.13 in August, 14.93 in September and so far in October it is 23.73.
Two days earlier â€“ on Thursday, the numbers had indicated a marked reduction in cases with 5,445 fresh ones out of 63,146 samples tested. It showed a TPR of 8.5%, considerably less than the numbers on previous days. However, the next day, the cases again rose to 9,250 after testing 68,321 cases. Dr B Ekbal, who heads governmentâ€™s expert panel on COVID-19 prevention, told The Hindu that it was a case of 'statistical noise', when a random irregularity can occur in real life data, without any pattern.
Unless it is another statistical noise, Thiruvananthapuram is now recording lesser cases than before. The district which had consistently recorded the highest number of cases for several weeks, has now fallen behind others, with 797 new cases on Sunday. Malappuram with 1,451 has nearly double the number of cases, followed by Ernakulam and Kozhikode with more than 1,200 cases each and Thrissur which has 960. However, Thiruvananthapuram still has 11,720 cases, only falling behind Ernakulam (12,804) and Kozhikode (11,755). Wayanad and Idukki continue to record the lowest number of cases with 96 and 50 respectively on Sunday.
Another worrying factor is the increase in the number of health workers infected by the virus. On Sunday 105 health workers were infected and on Saturday, 116 of them had contracted the disease. A day earlier 111 other health workers were infected. It was in September that a doctor treating COVID-19 patients died for the first time in Kerala. Dr MS Abeen who ran a clinic in Thiruvananthapuam had worked until he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and died a week later.