Bengaluru accounts for nearly 95% of Karnataka’s Omicron cases, but hospitalisation low

A BBMP health worker collecting swab samples for COVID-19 testing at Yeshwantapur Railway Station in Bengaluru.

A BBMP health worker collecting swab samples for COVID-19 testing at Yeshwantapur Railway Station in Bengaluru.

Of the total 931 Omicron cases reported in the State as of Monday, Bengaluru alone accounts for 94.5% (880). While no death has been reported so far, 650 persons have recovered taking the recovery rate of Omicron cases to 69.8%. Over 93% of the total recoveries are from Bengaluru.

While 251 of the active cases are in home isolation, only 30 are getting treatment in hospitals. According to data from the State Health Department, 141 of the 931 cases have an international travel history while 136 have a history of domestic travel. As many as 673 of the confirmed Omicron cases were fully vaccinated while 60 were partially vaccinated. While only ten were unvaccinated and 59 were not eligible, the vaccination status of 129 persons is not known, data shows.

Rate of hospitalisation

A comparative analysis by the Health Department found that COVID-19 hospitalisation in the State stood at 21% during the peak of the second wave while it was 16% during the corresponding period in the first wave. In the third wave, so far, the rate of hospitalisation has not gone beyond 5%.


During the first and second waves, the highest number of active cases was recorded on October 10, 2020, (1,20,929) and May 15, 2021, (6,05,494) respectively. In the third wave, the State has 3,62,487 active cases as of January 24 whereas the highest number of cases - 50,210 - was reported on January 23.

A total of 25,992 COVID-19 patients died during the second wave while the first claimed 12,331 lives. In the third, 281 fatalities have been recorded till now.

While the highest single-day case count in the first wave was 9,047 (reported on October 7, 2020), it jumped to 50,112 on May 5, 2021, during the second wave. In the third wave, the maximum daily cases (50,210) were seen on January 23.

In terms of test positivity rate (TPR), while the overall TPR remained at 5.22% during the first wave, it was slightly higher at 5.68% during the second wave. In the third wave, so far the seven-day running average TPR has touched 12.45%.

Yardstick for restrictions

With hardly any demand for hospital beds, oxygen and ICU facilities despite the surge in the State, experts now say that the rate of hospitalisation should be the yardstick for imposing restrictions and not the weekly test positivity rate (WTPR).

M.K. Sudarshan, chairman of the State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) said,“In my opinion, we should do away with WTPR and initiate public health restrictions if the rate of hospitalisation crosses 5% (any beds and not just oxygenated) in the current wave. The existing indicators of WTPR above 10% and 40% utilisation of oxygenated beds do not hold good now as hospitalisation has been negligible so far,” he said.

Due to the low virulence of Omicron - that is largely driving the third wave - the infection is only in the upper respiratory system and very little in the lungs. “Hence, a majority of people are getting mild infections and the actual disease manifestation is in very few people,” he said.

C.N. Manjunath, nodal officer for labs and testing in the State’s COVID-19 task force, who is also part of the Clinical Experts Committee, said hospitalisations, especially ICU admissions and mortality rate are very low as of now despite TPR being high. “In this scenario, only TPR may not be a reliable indicator. The rate of hospitalisation should be taken into consideration for imposing restrictions,” he said.

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Printable version | May 16, 2022 8:30:15 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/bengaluru-accounts-for-nearly-95-of-karnatakas-omicron-cases-but-hospitalisation-low/article38322655.ece