Don’t let guard down during festival season, Covid-19 committee tells Karnataka govt

The latest TAC report submitted to the government notes that the second wave is ongoing "at a low level" as during the first week of this month.

The Covid-19 technical advisory committee (TAC) constituted by the Karnataka government has reiterated that it is “very important” to ensure enforcement of guidelines to mitigate the spread of the infection, especially in anticipation of a third wave.

The latest TAC report submitted to the government notes that the second wave is ongoing “at a low level” as during the first week of this month. “In the current context of the ongoing second wave in the state at a low level (1,200 to 1,500 cases daily), door-to-door activities and large public gatherings lasting hours are conducive to spread the highly infectious Delta variant of SARS CoV-2 virus,” the report reads.

The report also sounds a warning to the authorities mentioning that letting the guard down, especially during this festival season, would fritter away the gains made by the hard efforts taken since March 2021 to contain the second wave.

“Kerala has had a spurt of infections soon after Onam when the government decided to dilute restrictions during the festive season. Our government should not ideally make the same mistake while ensuring that the guidelines in place are enforced without any gap,” a TAC member told The Indian Express.

Meanwhile, Karnataka has been reporting less than 1,000 new cases for the last three days as the total active caseload fell to 16,656 on Sunday (September 12). The same was 18,412 on September 1. However, the TPR continues to be between 0.60 and 0.80 per cent consistently.

However, the TAC has observed that respiratory infections are on the rise in several parts of the state this month. “Rain and cold weather are factors that will lead to the rise of more cases of respiratory infections during September. Breakthrough infections are also being reported among those vaccinated. This can be because of the Delta variant’s mutation. A recent genomic sequencing study had indicated 133 mutations in spike protein alone,” a TAC member said.

Further, the report added that clusters reported from nursing colleges (and hostels) and apartments in Mangaluru, Kolar, Bengaluru, and Mysuru are also an indication of the third wave expected to hit the state “during October-November.” The report added, “A similar scenario occurred in March-April 2021 that subsequently led to the second wave of Covid-19.”

Few cases in north Karnataka as coastal districts, Bengaluru fuel caseload

Incidentally, most new cases are reported from a few districts in coastal Karnataka and those sharing borders with Kerala apart from Bengaluru. These include Bengaluru Urban (2,047 new cases in the last 7 days), Dakshina Kannada (1318), Udupi (698), Mysuru (404), and Kodagu (370) among others.

At the same time, districts like Gadag (no new cases), Yadgir, Bagalkot (2 each), Haveri (3), and Bidar (4) have been reporting very few cases. “However, it should not be forgotten that the vaccination coverage and seroprevalence in these districts are lower than others and it is highly recommended that mass gatherings and any kind of complacency should be avoided there as well,” the TAC member warned.

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