The COVID-19 pandemic that is spiraling out of control in the state has placed a huge burden on the crumbling health care infrastructure, with an increase in active cases.

From 2.62,162 active cases on April 25, the number of active cases crossed four lakh and hit 4.05,068 on Saturday. This is more than three times the most active cases (12,270) reported last October during the first outbreak.

Indicating that the active caseload in the state has exploded beyond expectations, as many as 1.20,528 active cases have been added in the past five days alone. Over 92% (3,74,203) of the total number of active cases were reported in the past month alone.

With 2,70,993 active cases, Bengaluru alone accounts for almost 70% of the total number of active cases in the state. With active cases continuing to rise, COVID-19 experts have warned of a massive increase in deaths as hospitals, especially in Bengaluru, are overwhelmed by the surge in cases.

Giridhar R. Babu, a member of the state’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), said active cases are bound to increase as the test positivity rate (TPR) rises rapidly.

Stating that we are still two weeks away from the peak, Dr Babu said the cases we are seeing now are a result of transmission that occurred 7 to 14 days ago. The impact of the Janata curfew (the partial lockdown that’s in place right now) can only be seen after the next two weeks, he said.

Emphasizing that cases can start reducing the partial lockdown by two weeks, Dr Babu said: “This doesn’t mean we can reopen everything in one go. Existing restrictions should be well implemented and, if possible, there should be a full lockdown in the coming days with very little easing. This is what has been done in Maharashtra. “

He said there was a lag in the surge in cases and the surge in deaths. “The deaths reported on any given day are from critical cases that went to the ICUs 14 days ago,” he said.

CN Manjunath, nodal lab and testing manager on the state’s COVID-19 task force, said it would be desirable to maintain restrictions for an additional week if partial lockdown yields significant results by now the end of next week. “This is essential to maintain prevention of the spread and give hospitals and the healthcare system a little more breathing time,” he said.

Effect after 10 days

Another TAC member, V. Ravi, who is also the nodal officer for genomic confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 in Karnataka, said it would be foolish to conclude that cases are increasing despite the lockdown. “The effects are only visible after 10 to 12 days. Let’s wait and watch, ”he said.

Health Commissioner KV Trilok Chandra said nearly 90% of total active cases are in home isolation. “While the surge is reported statewide, we are now only admitting those who need oxygen. We are preparing to further expand the facilities and ensure that no patient requiring hospitalization is denied treatment, ”he said.

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