On Friday, however, 6,910 cases — the highest single-day spike so far in Bengal — were reported from across the state, a rise of 141 from the previous day. But then, the number of samples tested was 40,153, which was around 2,000 less than the previous day.
On March 31, there were 982 fresh cases. If the number rises to 20,000 by the end of this months — as the experts fear — there would be a nearly 20-fold jump in fresh cases this month.
“Going by the leaping numbers, we could be struck by a Tsunami by the time the polling comes to an end. The mass congregation during political rallies and meetings is definitely playing a catalyst to the virus that has more infectivity this time,” said Sumon Poddar, associate professor at the Institute of Child Health.
“The number of actual positive cases would be more than double of what is being reported right now. Apart from Kolkata and North 24 Parganas, no substantial amount of samples are being tested from other districts. These undetected cases will only make the situation worst,” said a senior doctor with a government Covid hospital.
While Kolkata and North 24 Parganas are still the only districts reporting cases in four digits, neighbouring Howrah and South 24 Parganas, too, is seeing a sharp rise.
“Strict adherence to Covid behaviour, identifying hotspots and then putting such places under containment are a few strategies that could break the chain while boosting the health infrastructure,” said infectious diseases specialist Yogiraj Ray.
“The pandemic’s second wave has challenged Bengal’s economic, medical and public health infrastructure. The nature of virus has changed, may be due to mutation and this is going to affect our approach towards the disease. In this time of crisis, people should stick to Covid-appropriate behaviour, otherwise we will face severe consequences in near future,” said public health specialist Anirban Dalui.
Diptendra Sarkar, a professor of surgery at SSKM Hospital, felt the need was to look at rising cases nationally and internationally. “The UK strain caused the second wave in India. It started from Mumbai, Kerala and Punjab and then the whole of India. Unless there is a holistic approach, we will be on the verge of a breakdown. There must be a strategy and campaign for door-to-door vaccination for two weeks and vaccinate lakhs in a week,” he said.