While there is an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the past few days in Karnataka, deaths have remained low all through this month. Only six deaths were reported in April.
Four days (April 4, April 5, April 6 and April 8) saw one death each and April 30 saw two deaths. The State has reported no deaths on all other days.
While March saw 97 patients succumbing to the disease, as many as 901 and 716 deaths were reported in February and January, respectively. On February 2, the State had reported 81 deaths, the highest single-day record during the third wave. The official figure of total number of COVID deaths in the State, as per the media bulletin issued by the Health Department, now stands at 40,059.
According to data from the department, as of April 29 (Friday), only eleven COVID-19 patients have been hospitalised. Of these, six are private walk-in patients and five are in government hospitals. Of the 11, five have occupied general beds while three are in high dependency units. The remaining three are in ICUs of which only one is on ventilator.
Active cases saw nearly a five-fold rise between January and February. Active cases shot up from 9,386 on January 1 to 1,97,725 on February 1. This number reduced to 4,847 on March 1 and further came down to 1,561 on April 1. As of April 30, active cases stood at 1,785.
Dr. C. N. Manjunath, nodal officer for labs and testing in the State’s COVID-19 task force, who is also a member of the State’s Clinical Experts’ Committee, said Karnataka’s decline in deaths is similar to the national trend.
Attributing a combination of factors for this, Dr. Manjunath said, “Third wave saw very few patients develop lung involvement because of which ICU admissions were negligible. Moreover, with a major chunk of the population being vaccinated, disease severity among those who required admissions was low. Besides, the virulence of Omicron that drove the third wave was also very low.”
Pointing out that Karnataka is at the threshold of the fourth wave, Dr Manjunath said, “It is too early to conclude if the virulence of the mutations of the virus in the fourth wave will be as low as that in the third wave. It is only a small uptick in cases that Karnataka is seeing now.”
“Also, most of the cases are either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. Now, we should also look at ICU admissions. If ICU admissions do not increase, it justifies that the virulence of the mutated virus is low. But we will have to wait for a few weeks before coming to a conclusion,” the doctor explained.
However, the doctor sounded a word of caution for people with serious ailments such as cancer and other comorbidities affecting the heart, kidneys and lungs. Even a trivial infection can trigger complications in such patients, he added.
State Health Commissioner Randeep D. said that during the third wave patients did not turn up with breathlessness which drastically reduced need for oxygen. “However patients have been developing long COVID issues which need to be addressed separately,” he added.