In a day of triple-whammy, Tamil Nadu added more than 20,000 new COVID-19 cases, Chennai surpassed the second wave peak of fresh cases and the State crossed one lakh active cases on Thursday. While the runaway rise in numbers revealed the challenges that the authorities are facing, officials noted that hospitalisation remains low as most cases are being managed in home isolation.
The State added 20,911 new cases on Thursday, growing by double of what it recorded less than a week ago. More worrying is the rise in Chennai, which reported 8,218 fresh cases – this is the highest so far, going beyond even the second wave peak of 7,564 cases on May 12, 2021.
The recent spike has also pushed the number of active cases to 1,03,610, the highest in more than six months. The TPR is also on the rise – 21.9% in Chennai, 21.1% in Chengalpattu, 20.6% in Ranipet, and more than 10% in seven other districts. The overall TPR stood at 11.5% on Wednesday, climbing up to more than 13.3% on Thursday. When asked, Dr TS Selvavinayagam, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine said: “Only those who have comorbid conditions, unvaccinated or elderly people require hospitalisation; asymptomatic cases are being managed in home isolation. While many needed oxygen beds and ICU earlier, adequate beds are available in hospitals now.”
Officials wary of imposing higher fine
The State health department’s order to collect Rs 500 fine from those not wearing face masks has made civic officials hesitant to impose it till proper awareness was created among the public, sources revealed.
Earlier, the fine amount was Rs 200, which “the public paid with much reluctance and that too only when they knew they had no other alternative”, said a conservancy official involved in this exercise on a regular basis.
Asking defaulters to cough up Rs 500 will create problems as most people we fine are from the poorer sections of society for whom Rs 500 will be a really big amount. This should be undertaken only after enough awareness is created among the public that it is cheaper to wear a mask than to pay the fine, said a health official on condition of anonymity.