Kolkata: The number of Covid deaths in Bengal has dropped almost five times in February over fatalities registered in January, the sharpest plunge since the first casualty was reported in the state a year back. While January witnessed 461 deaths in the state, the number slid to just 95 last month, a trend that indicates a gradual tapering off but not the end of the pandemic, say experts.
On Monday, Bengal registered zero Covid death for the first time in more than 11 months, as reported by TOI. On Tuesday, there were two fatalities. The pandemic has so far caused 10,268 deaths in the state.
The spike in deaths had started in August 2020, when fatalities shot up to 1,737. October turned out to be the cruellest month with Covid claiming 1,883 people. Thereafter, fatalities started falling: November saw 1,583 deaths and December 1,288.
‘We should not let our guard down’
According to some experts, a consistent drop in the number of affected could be a strong indication of the virus fading away. Since a year has passed since the pandemic broke out, the virus is showing signs of losing its virulence and will be less fatal now, they say.
“We have developed herd immunity to an extent, which, along with the vaccine, is protecting us. In natural course, Covid has been losing its sting and the number of deaths has dropped which was expected. But I would be happier if the number of affected dips faster. That would be a firm indication of the vaccine acting as a shield,” said CMRI Hospital pulmonologist Raja Dhar.
Other city doctors, however, feel it is too early to conclude that Covid has been conquered. Merely a day of zero death is not very significant, they feel. “We must remember that Maharashtra and Karnataka are going through a second wave. While the vaccine for the elderly population has come at just the right time for Bengal, it may not be enough if we let our guard down. Even a single ‘super-spreader event’ is enough to push up the numbers. So, we have reached a crucial phase now from where we can indeed wipe out Covid if we remain cautious,” said Belle Vue Clinic internal medicine consultant Rahul Jain.
Dhar, too, warned that despite the drop in numbers and an occasional day without death, the virus may persist for some more months.