TIRUPATI: Although there is a decline in Covid-19 positive cases over the past two weeks across the country, the pandemic continues to spread at a faster pace in rural and semi-urban areas of Andhra Pradesh, particularly in Chittoor district.
The urban areas have borne the brunt of the first wave of Covid last year, but now they account for less than half of the new cases as the deadly virus penetrated into rural areas, where health care infrastructure is comparatively poor.
For instance, the surge in the number of positive cases in rural areas is indicated in the statistics from the district administration. According to it, the urban areas in Chittoor district have contributed a little over a third at 35.31 per cent of new infections from May 11-21, compared to 64.68 per cent reported in rural and semi-urban areas.
In total, the district has reported over 28,626 new cases during this 11-day period, of which 18,516 cases were recorded in rural and semi-urban areas. That around 64 per cent of them are from rural areas offer little comfort to epidemiologists and health experts.
Meanwhile, Anantapur continues to remain on top with 41.6 per cent positivity rate of Covid infections, as per the MoHFW. This was followed by East Godavari-35.4 per cent, Chittoor-34.2 per cent, Vizianagaram-29.9 per cent, Visakhapatnam-26.2 per cent, Nellore-22.2 per cent, Prakasam-20.7 per cent, West Godavari-20.6 per cent, Kurnool-20.4 per cent, Srikakulam-19.5 per cent, Kadapa-17.2 per cent, Guntur-15.5 per cent and Krishna-14.3 per cent.
It may be noted that a report by SBI, dated May 7, flagged that the share of rural pockets in new cases has been steadily increasing – from 36.8 per cent in March to 45.5 per cent in April and 48.5 per cent in May. The SBI also estimated that among the top 15 worst hit rural districts in the country, five are from AP.
According to data for April, nearly 56 per cent of total cases (1.47 lakh) reported in AP were from rural areas, while the urban areas accounted for the remaining 44 per cent. In the second week of this month, the state has recorded nearly 1.37 lakh cases, of which more than 52 per cent of cases are from rural pockets.