covid: Bengal +vity Below 5% For 1st Time Since Dec 30 | Kolkata News – Times of India


KOLKATA: Bengal recorded a Covid positivity rate of 4.09% on Tuesday, the first time in the third wave — and in more than a month — that the number fell below the 5% mark. Experts saw this as a sign of the infection being under control and said they were hopeful of the rate dipping to 1% to 2% in about three to four weeks.

To put things in perspective, the positivity rate had hovered around 3% from July last year as the second wave of the pandemic receded. But it shot up above 5% on December 30, signalling the arrival of the third wave. By January 1, this was 12%.
The Omicron-driven wave grew so fast that the positivity in Bengal surged to 37% on January 10, the highest during the pandemic, and touched 70% in some Kolkata labs on a few days in the second week of January. In contrast, most labs across the city have reported between 6% and 10% positivity in the past few days.
“This shows the infection is under control,” said senior physician Sukumar Mukherjee, member of Bengal’s Global Advisory Board for Covid-19, adding, “In another week or so, we could expect fresh cases for the state to dip below 100 a day.”
On Tuesday, there were 2,014 fresh cases in Bengal and 265 in Kolkata.
“When the positivity goes down below 5%, it could mean the infection has become locally endemic for now,” said Diptendra Sarkar, a professor of surgery at IPGMER. “But we could see a slight surge once educational institutes start reopening, which is quite normal after each unlocking procedure. However, that surge should also stabilise soon,” he added.
Public health specialist Anirban Dalui said the situation in Kolkata and other urban areas “seems good, but we must see this kind of dip in rural areas as well. Also, we must place more emphasis on RT-PCR tests over rapid antigen kits, so that there is a low chance of missing positive cases.”
Despite the sharp drop in Covid case load and positivity, however, the static daily death count remains a concern. This has refused to go down below 30 in the past three weeks.
“We must analyse the death data to see why it has remained static despite the massive drop in Covid cases,” said Mukherjee. “Especially, we should figure out what percentage of Covid-affected with co-morbidities died and how many survived. This could help us take corrective measures. But I believe the death count should also come down once we start reporting less than 1,000 cases a day,” he added.

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