Despite high daily cases, key COVID-19 figures improve in Bengaluru

Both the positivity rate and mortality rate showed improvement on October 16 vs September 16.
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Even as the daily increase of COVID-19 cases in Bengaluru has continued to be among the highest in the country for the past month, the positivity rate and the mortality rate has decreased in the same period. While as on September 16, the positivity rate was 13.95%, the same as on October 16 is 12.77%. Similarly, the mortality rate which was at 1.39% on September 16, is at 1.15% as of October 16. Positivity rate is the number of patients testing positive for every 100 tests while the mortality rate is the number of deaths per 100 positive patients.

Experts say that the rise in daily caseload can be explained as a result of more testing in Bengaluru and specifically RT-PCR testing. They say that accurate and early detection of cases is the only way to arrest the growth of the infection and prevent deaths. This is because rapid antigen tests have proved to be unreliable giving a high number of false negatives. While antigen tests are inexpensive and less time consuming, they have lesser reliability. They stress that instead of concentrating on caseload in isolation, the positivity rate and case fatality rate should be looked at as well.

Over the last 10 days, Bengaluru has recorded 46,293 cases averaging 4,629 cases daily. This after the city conducted 4,62,527 tests in the same period, averaging 46,252 tests daily. Chennai at the same time has been doing only 13,000 tests daily while Mumbai has fallen below 10,000.

Speaking on this, senior IAS officer and Karnataka War Room in-charge Munish Moudgil said, “The government of Karnataka is deliberately doing a high number of tests in Bengaluru, compared to every other Metro. Seventy to 80% tests are RT-PCR in Bengaluru and we plan to ramp up RT-PCR tests further.”

Officials pointed out that at the same time the majority of Delhi’s tests are on antigen-based kits – 80% of Delhi’s state averaging around 50,000 daily tests are on antigen-based kits.

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