Death rate low, but new Covid infections spiral in Punjab

Death rate low, but new Covid infections spiral in Punjab

Even as health officials of Punjab are seeing a silver lining in the lower death rate during the present wave of coronavirus as compared to the first, the state recorded its highest ever single-day jump in case count with a record 6,762 cases on Friday, a spike of 23.93 per cent over 5,456 cases recorded on Thursday. The number of deceased stood at 8,264 since the pandemic began, with 76 deaths being recorded on Friday.

The average Covid fatality rate of Punjab, which stood at around 2.6 per cent since the virus outbreak, has dropped to 2 per cent during the second wave, and was only 1.4 per cent last week. The state also has a promising recovery rate of 84.7 per cent.

“The average death rate in Punjab is around 2.6 per cent since the Covid-19 outbreak. But it came down to 2 per cent in 2021 and further dipped to 1.4 per cent last week,” said Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, the state Covid-19 nodal officer. The national CFR stands at 1.15%.

While the death rate may be lower than the first (in August-September last year) wave, the rising number of patients on ventilator and oxygen support indicates that it might be too early to reach any conclusion.

Data analysis shows that the number of patients on ventilator and oxygen support has been constantly increasing since the surge in cases started since February last week.

On February 25, there were just 11 patients who were on ventilator support and 82 on oxygen support. Eighteen days later on March 16, the number increased to 26 on ventilator and 272 on oxygen support. As cases continued to surge, there were 33 patients on ventilator and 334 on oxygen support on April 1.

On Friday (April 23), the day Punjab witnessed its steepest ever hike in fresh Covid cases, since pandemic started last year — 23.93% increase in fresh cases within 24 hours — there were 44 patients on ventilator and at least 527 on oxygen support. Punjab recorded the highest ever single day case count Friday — 6,762 fresh cases in 24 hours, that is 23.93 per cent higher than 5,456 cases recorded on Thursday.

However, the highest single-day death count in second wave is 84 till now (on April 19) whereas in the first wave, the highest toll in a day was 106 on September 2 last year.

“Our problem is that people are coming to hospitals when it is difficult for them to breathe. This is the reason we have more Level-3 bed occupancy than Level-2. It is important that people should report as soon as they experience any symptoms. We will test them and assess whether they need to stay at home or get admitted to hospital,” said Bhaskar.

Amardeep Singh Cheema, Chairman, Punjab Health Systems Corporation, pointed out that Punjab has just 31 per cent occupancy in Level-2 beds and 48 per cent in Level-3 beds.

“It shows that people are not reporting in time,” he said.

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