Coronavirus India Roundup, April 29: Over 1,000 deaths and 31,787 cases so far, Punjab extends lockdown by 2 weeks
Out of all the active cases, 2.17% have been admitted to ICUs, 1.29% require oxygen support, and only 0.36% (or 80 people) are currently on ventilators.
As of April 29, there are over 1,000 COVID-19 deaths in the country. At last count, 1,008 people had lost their lives and total cases are now 31,787. Here are some major developments of the day:
Punjab to extend curfew by 2 weeks
Punjab’s Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that the curfew will be extended in the state by another two weeks. However, there will be a daily window of four hours between 7 AM and 11 AM when restrictions will be lifted. During this time people will be able to leave their houses and shops will be allowed to open while observing physical distancing norms.
Health ministry: Only 0.36 of active COVID-19 cases currently on ventilator support
The Health Ministry said yesterday that the recovery rate of COVID-19 in India continues to improve, with it being over 23% now. In other encouraging news, out of all the active cases, 2.17% have been admitted to ICUs, 1.29% require oxygen support, and only 0.36% (or 80 people) are currently on ventilators.
One of the foremost concerns of public health experts is that the severely ill will require ventilator support as their ability to breathe is diminished by the virus, and that a sudden increase in cases will mean that there won't be enough ventilators to support the burden. These low numbers are therefore encouraging and suggest that health facilities are not currently being overwhelmed.
Gene sequencing studies suggest there isn't a "deadlier" strain in India so far
One of the reasons put forward for India’s comparatively low number of COVID-19 deaths is that the younger population is better suited to fight off the virus and also that the strain of the virus circulating in the country is not as lethal.
Both of these claims, however, have not been backed by studies. Scientists at Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) have said that so far there does not seem to be anything remarkable about the genomes studied and there is no evidence to suggest that the strains in India are especially different from others.
The genomes are being studied after doctors in Ahmedabad - which has seen a spike in deaths - suggested that the strain there may be more harmful.
So far no studies have concluded whether there is a more deadly strain of the virus - distinct ‘L’ and ‘S’ strains have been discovered but there is not enough data to suggest if either is more deadly.
Ahmedabad sees 19 deaths in a day
Gujarat has seen a sudden spike in infections and deaths and is now second only to Maharashtra in terms of disease burden, having overtaken Delhi last week.
Yesterday, the state reported 20 deaths, 19 of which were in Ahmedabad. Further, of the 226 new cases reported in the state yesterday, 164 were in Ahmedabad. Fifteen of the deceased had comorbidities, however, there was also a 21-year-old man with no known underlying health conditions.
According to media reports, health officials have turned their attention to slums, older people and crowded spaces such as markets.
How various states are faring so far
Sikkim, Nagaland, Daman and Diu and Lakshadweep are yet to report their first cases of COVID-19 . Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Goa have no active cases as all those who were infected have recovered.
In fact, 20 hotspots across the country are responsible for over 60% of total cases. The national doubling rate is just over 10 days currently. Telangana and Chhattisgarh have done particularly well with containment efforts; at the current rate, it will take 70 days for cases there to double. Karnataka, Kerala and Punjab would take around 35 days. Jharkhand and Bihar are of concern; the doubling rate is around 5.5 in these states. In Delhi, Odisha and J&K, the figure is between 10-13 days. Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal, which have a high number of cases, are gradually increasing their doubling rates; currently, the figure is at 10 days.
For more information, read our article on Risks of intubation and ventilators for COVID-19 patients.
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