Kerala, which once led other Indian states in containing the pandemic, Covid-19, appears to have lost its way and is now lagging behind them in most parameters, excepting the mortality rate. At present, the state has about 71,000 active cases, which make about 41 per cent of the total active cases in the country. Its test positivity rate of 12.48 is the highest in the country.
There have been a lot of factors contributing to the steady spike in the number but experts are in unison pointing to the complacency people exhibit in following the Covid-appropriate protocol. It has been well-established that crowding, close contacts and closed spaces facilitate easy spread of the virus. With the restrictions on most events gone, the state has witnessed a spurt in events with people paying little or no attention to the rules of the “break-the chain” campaign. Elections to the local bodies held in November and the festival season that followed did not help the situation either.
A key point is the low mortality rate that has taken the fear factor off the people’s minds. The state has seen only 3,643 deaths due to Covid-19 as on January 26, thanks to the healthcare infrastructure it has created over the decades and the efficient mechanism it has put in place to treat the patients. The state has not yet reached a point where its facilities are overwhelmed though healthcare experts fear that outcome, should the trend continue unchecked.
The state government should act swiftly to contain the Covid spread, and even consider reintroducing some of the controls it has lifted. The state health minister is on record stating that the grassroots work undertaken by the local self governments helped contain the pandemic in the initial phases. The government should try and revive that spirit. With the elections to the state Assembly round the corner, it does not have much time to spare either.