Has Kerala Crossed Peak of the Second Wave? Experts Counter CM’s Claim

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in his media briefings, repeatedly said the state has likely crossed the peak of second Covid wave, pointing to the dip in the test positivity rate. The daily number of new infections, which was 43,000 at one point recently has come down to around 30,000 and the test positivity rate (TPR), which was nearly 30 percent on 12 May was recorded at 23.18 percent on Thursday. It was the lowest TPR in three weeks. “The experts are of the opinion that the peak of the disease spread is over. But that is not a green signal to lower our guard,” Vijayan had said.

The state has been under lockdown for two weeks with some districts under stringent triple lockdown. And resultantly, Kerala has begun to show a plateauing of Covid-19 cases. However, the health experts and IMA officials in the state are not ready to fully subscribe to the aruguemnt of passing the peak of the second wave.

“We can’t confidently say that right now,” state secretary of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Dr Gopikumar told the Indian Express. “The cases being reported today are from the transmission in the first week of lockdown. It’s between 4-7 days of being infected that a person’s condition turns severe. Right now, ICU beds and ventilators are still full and there are more patients being hospitalised right now. If the number of patients with serious illnesses rises, we will have more problems. I think we will have to continue the lockdown for a few more days,” he further said.

The Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) Dr Joseph Chacko also cautioned against the claim of crossing the peak. He says the current numbers are not enough to substantiate the claim.

“Our test positivity rate is still in the early 20s. The effects of the curfews and the lockdown are there and the cases are going down. But there hasn’t been a sharp decline. One of the reasons could be the high transmission of the virus within a household. It doesn’t take long for the virus to spread from an asymptomatic person to many members of his/her family. An asymptomatic person goes outside, gets the virus and transmits it unknowingly to his family,” Dr Chacko said.

However, the lockdown has seen a spike in daily deaths in absolute numbers in the state. Since April beginning, over 2,200 people have succumbed to the virus with half of them in the last two weeks alone.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Vijayan has warned that there will be a third wave of Covid. He added that the government intends to evaluate the experience and initiate action to prepare to prevent the spread of the virus.

“There has been a lot of talk about the third wave at the international and national levels. The third wave may be caused by a virus that can survive the vaccine. It is safe for those who have been vaccinated, even if it is a single dose. But it should be noted that such people can also be carriers. People who have been vaccinated often get the disease because they have a related illness. So everyone should follow the COVID code of conduct,” the CM said.