Nearly 39% of the State’s COVID-19 burden is from districts other than Bengaluru Urban and Ballari that, till August, were considered to be COVID-19 hotspots in Karnataka. What is more worrying is the fact that the growth rate of the infection is higher than the State average in at least 10 districts including Bengaluru Urban.
On the high side
A look at the district-wise average compounded daily growth rate (CDGR) of COVID-19 positive cases in the last five days revealed that the growth rate is the highest in Kolar at 1.7%. The State average is 0.4% in the last five days.
Kolar is followed by Vijayapura, Chitradurga, Bengaluru Urban and Chickballapura with an average growth rate of 0.6%. Infections have been spreading at an average growth rate of 0.5% in the last five days in Mandya, Hassan, Tumakuru, Kodagu and Chamarajanagar, according to data from the State COVID-19 war room.
On a decline
The State’s growth rate which touched 4.2% on August 15 reduced to 2.1% on September 12 and further to 1.5% on October 10. Since then it has been on a decline touching 0.4% on October 31. However, ten districts are seeing a higher CDGR indicating that the virus is spreading at a faster pace there.
According to the war room data, the lowest CDGR of 0.1% has been reported from Bidar, Raichur and Koppal. The growth rate in Bengaluru Rural, Uttara Kannada, Chikkamagaluru and Dakshina Kannada is similar to the State average of 0.4%. The CDGR has reduced to 0.2% in Ballari and 0.3% in Mysuru, which earlier had a higher rate.
Kodagu is taking the least number of days to double cases at 37 days followed by Bengaluru Rural at 38 days. While the State average is 54 days, at least 14 districts including Bengaluru Rural are seeing cases doubling in a span shorter than that of the State average. Bidar and Kalaburagi are taking the highest number of days to double at 78 and 71 days respectively. However, in terms of Case Fatality Rate, Dharwad has the highest at 2.7% and Chitradurga the lowest at 0.5%. While the State average is 1.4%, CFR in Bengaluru Urban is 1.1%.
Agreeing that infections are spreading at a higher rate in districts and rural areas, Giridhara R. Babu, member of the State’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) said testing levels have to be increased depending on the stage of outbreak in the districts.
“A thorough review of district-wise testing approach has to be done that includes not just number of tests but on whether they are using a syndromic approach to find the suspects and employ the right tests judiciously. The focus given by BBMP to increase testing in Bengaluru should be emulated in all cities with corporations while the district health authorities should plan for rest of the areas,” he said.
Travel leading to spread
C.N. Manjunath, nodal officer for labs and testing, State’s COVID-19 task force, attributed the spread to inter-district travel. “Many people have returned to their villages in Karnataka from Maharashtra, Rajasthan and other states. People from Bengaluru also keep visiting their native districts carrying the virus from here. There should be an increased awareness and responsible behaviour by the people. There is no room for complacency and people should continue following precautions,” he added.