Increase in cases a “natural outcome” of a pandemic like COVID-19: Kerala Chief Minister

Published : January 28, 2021 22:09 IST

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, along with Health Minister K.K. Shailaja, sanitises his hands as part of the campaign to "Break the Chain" against COVID-19. A file photo. Photo: S. Mahinsha

Why is Kerala, with its strong public health system, reporting the highest number of COVID-19 cases in India now?

At a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram on January 28, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that Kerala’s test positivity rate is above 10 per cent and unlike earlier, the number of people being infected are more than those who are being cured of the disease. The case per million in Kerala so far has been 25,762.11, which is more than that in most other States. But the tests per million in Kerala, which is 2,67,648.74, is also more than most other States. But the government wants the number of tests to go up further. The mortality rate in the State is, however, low. Only 104.32 per million deaths have been reported in the State. Kerala also has the lowest case fatality rate (0.4 per cent).

Indeed, Kerala is now the State that is reporting the largest number of COVID-19 cases, but “that it is a natural outcome as far as a rapidly spreading pandemic like COVID-19 is concerned,” the Chief Minister said.

Quoting the example of the Scandinavian countries that have the world’s best health care systems, but still saw second and third waves of the pandemic, he said “the fact that the transmission of the disease is increasing in such places is because the number of people who are susceptible to the disease but have not yet been infected are more in such regions.”

“Likewise, the situation in Kerala is that, so far, less than three per cent of the population alone have been affected by COVID-19. As per all the ICMR sero prevalence studies, the number of people who have been infected and were cured of COVID-19 was the least in Kerala. Therefore, only with the support of fresh sero prevalence data can we say that the spread of the pandemic has become unusually high in the State, as is being alleged by some people. We must also understand that the spread of the disease has not been to such an extent that it has become a challenge to Kerala’s excellent health system, or something which it cannot handle,” he said.