Rising cases of COVID-19 in Kerala. Is this the third wave?

Kerela has become the epicentre of India’s fresh COVID-19 surge. More than half of the total number of new Coronavirus cases are being reported from Kerala. Hence the state has decided to enforce total lockdown this weekend. The increase in the ‘R’ factor of the virus means that the rate of infection is reaching the red zone which is alarming for the state.

According to IANS, Kerala on Friday, for the fourth day running, recorded more than 20,000 fresh cases in the state with the test positivity rate (TPR) rising to 13.61 percent and 116 more people succumbing to COVID-19. With 20,772 fresh cases, the infection caseload in the state reached 33,70,137 and the 116 deaths pushed the total casualties to 16,701, a state government release said.

Some of the worst affected districts in Kerala are Malappuram, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Ernakulam, Palakkad, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kannur, Thiruvananthapuram and Kottayam. Moreover, there is no evidence of any new fast-spreading variant in the state currently but the research is ongoing.

According to reports, Kerala’s sero-prevalence is only 44.4% which means that 55.6% of the population has not developed antibodies against COVID-19 and are still vulnerable to the virus.

Reacting to the report, former state finance minister Thomas Isaac requested the Modi government to provide more vaccines to the states that have a lower seroprevalence rate. “They are more vulnerable to infection. The present policy of vaccine distribution punishes states that have protected larger proportion of people from infection. Provide more vaccines to Kerala than free advice,” he tweeted on Thursday.

Despite the accelerating numbers of cases per day, Kerala has been efficient with tackling the pandemic. The Covid testing per million population is among the highest in Kerela when compared to the other hard-hit states. Vaccination drive has been robust wherein over 37% of the population has received at least one dose while 16% is fully vaccinated.

The third wave appears to be underway in Kerala, and it will be interesting to see how the state manages to maintain a healthy rate of vaccination and whether or not this results in a drop in COVID cases in the near future.

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