From Our Bureau  

4th SEPTEMBER 2020

India witnessed a big spurt with 83,341 fresh COVID-19 positive cases reported on Friday, taking the country’s cumulative cases to 39,36,747. The death toll rose to 68,472, with 1,096 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours.

India has moved to third place in total number of fatalities as also positive cases among countries across the world. It ranks after the United States and Brazil, which occupy the top two slots. Incidentally, the daily tally of cases and deaths in India is the highest among all the countries across the globe.

However, one of the goals of the TEST-TRACK-TREAT strategy of the Central Government is to reduce the COVID mortality and keep the case fatality rate low. There has been sharp attention on sustaining high levels of recoveries and to strengthen the clinical treatment protocols to provide a uniform standardised level of medical care to save lives.

Not only is India’s Case Fatality Rate lower than the global average and progressively declining (current figure is 1.74 percent), but a very small proportion of the active cases, amounting to less than 0.5 percent, are on ventilator support. Data also shows that 2 percent cases are in ICUs and less than 3.5 percent of the active cases occupy oxygen supported beds.

As a result of these measures, India’s total COVID-19 recoveries have crossed 30 lakh (30,37,151) today.

With the recovery of 66,659 in the last 24 hours, India has continued its trajectory of posting more than 60,000 recoveries for the 8th consecutive day. The Recovery Rate amongst the COVID-19 patients is 77.15 percent, demonstrating that the number of patients recovering is on a steady rise over the past several months.

The higher number of recoveries has also led to a steady enhancement in the difference between the recovered and active ones. This difference has crossed 22 lakh, as on date. This ensured that the actual caseload of the country (viz. the active cases, numbering 8,31,124, which are under active medical care) has reduced and currently comprises only 21.11 percent of the total positive cases.

India continues to scale new peaks in COVID-19 tests

After having successfully achieved the goal of enhancing the daily testing capacity to more than 10 lakh tests, India has scaled new peaks in COVID-19 testing for the last two successive days with 11.70 lakh samples tested daily.  As many as 11,69,765 samples were tested across the country in the last 24 hours.

No other country has achieved these levels of very high daily testing.

With this steep exponential rise in daily testing, the cumulative tests are nearing 4.7 crore. The cumulative tests as on date have reached 4,66,79,145.

Even with this very high daily testing, the daily Positivity Rate is still below 7.5 percent, while cumulative Positivity Rate is less than 8.5 percent. These results reflect the successful Central Government-led strategy of TEST TRACK TREAT, being effectively implemented by most of the States/Union Territories.

The sustained higher testing on a wide scale enables early diagnosis, prompt isolation and timely hospitalisation. Effective treatment based on Standard Treatment Protocol both in supervised home isolation and in hospitals, also results in lower mortality rate. With the aim to reduce the fatality rate below 1 percent, India’s Case Fatality Rate (CFR) has touched 1.74 percent following a gradient of steady and sustained decline.

India’s substantial increase in the testing levels is anchored in the daily expanding diagnostic lab network across the country. As on date, with 1,025 labs in the government sector and 606 private labs, the country-wide network is strengthened with 1,631 lab facilities.

These include: Real-Time RT PCR based testing labs: 827 (Govt: 465 + Private: 362), TrueNat based testing labs: 683 (Govt: 526 + Private: 157) and CBNAAT based testing labs: 121 (Govt: 34 + Private: 87).  

Central Government exhorts the States to proactively curb the Chain of Transmission and bring Mortality below 1 percent

Health Ministry reviews COVID Management and Response in 15 districts across 5 States exhibiting high caseload and fatality.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan held a review meeting through video conference (VC) with the Health Secretaries of 15 districts across 5 States –Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh– today.

These 15 districts are Chittoor, Prakasam, Mysuru, Bengaluru Urban, Ballari, Koppal, Dakshina Kannada, Davangere, Ludhiana, Patiala, Chennai, Coimbatore, Salem, Lucknow and Kanpur Nagar. They have been exhibiting higher active caseload, fatality rates and a surge in the COVID cases for the past four weeks.

In addition to the State Health Secretaries, District Collectors, Municipal Commissioners and other district functionaries also participated in the digital review meeting.

The Union Secretary shared the overall status and performance of the districts on the key parameters of testing, positivity, case fatality etc., focusing on the need of continuing containment measures, increased testing and effective clinical management of patients.

State Health Secretaries provided an in-depth analysis on the current status of COVID-19 in these 15 districts covering aspects of containment measures, contact tracing, surveillance activities, facility-wise case fatality rates, trends in terms of weekly new cases and deaths, etc. and shared their detailed roadmaps and action plans for the next one month.

Granularities in terms of split of RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen tests conducted in the district, re-testing percentage of symptomatic negatives from Antigen tests, testing lab utilization, home isolation status, hospitalization status and bed occupancies of oxygen-supported beds, ICU beds and ventilator etc., were also shared with the Union Health Ministry.

The States were advised to take steps on the following specific areas:

Limiting and eventually breaking the spread of the infection by implementing stringent containment measures and following social distancing measures, strict peri-meter control, and active house-to-house case search.

Early identification by ramping up testing across the districts, optional utilization of RT-PCR testing capacity and use of Rapid Antigen Tests as a screening test in hotspots and densely populated areas.

Effective monitoring of home isolation cases and early hospitalization in case of disease progression.

Seamless hospitalization and early admission for patients requiring medical support, especially in cases of co-morbid and elderly population.

Following effective infection control measures in hospitals to safeguard healthcare workers from contracting the infection.

District Collectors and other functionaries to prepare and update district specific plans to continue their efforts to manage the pandemic with the same rigor. (eom)

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