As the second wave of coronavirus continues to engulf several parts of the country, the Centre on Monday said some states are showing very early signs of plateauing in daily new COVID-19 cases, while some remain a cause of concern. Addressing a news briefing, Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said 13 states, including Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Punjab, are showing early signs of plateauing, while states like Bihar, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and West Bengal are showing an increasing trend in daily cases.
Amid a shortage of medical oxygen in the country, he said the government is exploring the feasibility of converting existing nitrogen plants to produce oxygen.
“There are some early signs of plateauing or decrease in new COVID-19 cases in some states,” Agarwal said.
Chhattisgarh, where 15,583 cases were reported on April 29, recorded 14,087 fresh cases on May 2. Similar was the case with Delhi, Daman and Diu, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
With regards to districts, Agarwal said Durg, Gariyaband, Raipur, Rajnandgaon in Chhattisgarh; Chhindwara, Guna, Shajapur in Madhya Pradesh, Leh in Ladakh; Nirmal in Telangana are showing signs of decline in cases in the last 15 days. Agarwal said 12 districts of Maharashtra are also showing signs of a decline since the last 15 days.
“However, these are very early signals and this is too early to analyse the situation. It is important to have continued efforts of containment at district and state level so that we can preserve these gains and reduce cases further,” he said.
“There are some causes of concern,” Agarwal cautioned.
He said there are 12 states where active cases are more than a lakh. They are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu. There are seven states where the active cases are in the range of 50,000 to 1 lakh cases and 17 states where the active cases are more than 50,000.
There are 22 states where the positivity rate is more than 15 per cent and in nine states the positivity rate is between 5 to 15 per cent and five states it is less than five per cent.
He said states and union territories like Andaman and Nicobar, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Odisha, Pudcherry, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and West Bengal are showing an increasing trend in daily cases.
“Today, it is important to analyse the cases at micro-level and continue with the efforts in the areas from where the cases are being reported,” he said.
On vaccine coverage, he said so far 12.07 crore (first dose for 10.53 crore people and second dose for 1.54 crore) above the age of 45 years have been vaccinated.
AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria warned against rushing for CT scans in cases of mild COVID-19, saying there are side effects and it can end up doing more harm than good.
“One CT scan is equivalent to 300 to 400 chest X-rays. According to data, repeated CT scans in younger age groups increases the risk of cancer in later life. Exposing yourself to radiation again and again may cause damage. So there is no point in doing CT scan in mild COVID-19 cases if oxygen saturation is normal,” he said.