Norm violation, vax hesitation: COVID hits TN dists

State records highest number of new cases in India with 34,875 infections
Norm violation, vax hesitation: COVID hits TN dists

Chennai

With TN emerging as the State with highest number of COVID cases across India with 34,875 fresh infections reported on Wednesday, health officials are staring at a grim situation as the pandemic has entered rural hamlets and villages with deadly vigour.
Of the total cases, Chennai reported 6,297, which is less than 20% of the total numbers reported across the State and has remained lower than last week’s peak of around 7,500 cases. However, western TN has been recording a high number of cases, especially Coimbatore (25,951 active cases), Tirupur (7,092) Erode (7,652) while the numbers are slightly lesser in other districts.
Even districts like Ariyalur, Dharmapuri have reported significant numbers with 1,511 and 2,287 active cases respectively, which are among the lowest in the State. With no real private healthcare facilities and scant government facilities, the public have no choice but to move to large cities for treatment, which is often too late. Health experts say that the people are neither following COVID protocols nor are they getting vaccinated as they still refuse to consider the seriousness of the pandemic.
Tiruchy reported 1,459 cases on Wednesday, where cases increased by 4 per cent compared to Tuesday which saw 1,271 cases. Dr Vishwanathan, a radiologist at the COVID ward at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital in Tiruchy, said if people had followed norms, the district wouldn’t have recorded so many cases. “We are making frequent announcements that attenders of COVID patients should not stay at the hospital, but they wait with patients throughout the day. Most people are still unaware of the vaccination and those who are aware, fear getting their doses thanks to rumours.”
Ranipet witnessed a significant increase in cases. V Manimaran, Deputy Director Health Service, Ranipet, said that the public are still roaming around without fear of transmission, despite the Health department coming out with so many restrictions. “We have conducted many awareness programmes, but there is no proper response from the people. We also imposed a fine of Rs 500 but people are still coming out during the nights,” Manimaran said. He said cases would reduce if people stay indoors.
Earlier, there was no awareness on vaccination, but now, people are stepping forward to get inoculated. Till now, 12% got their jabs. Even Vellore district saw an increase in number of cases. However, T Manivanan, Deputy Director Health Service, claimed that after lockdown, people are a little cooperative. “The district has reached plateau stage though it is too early to say anything,” he said. So far, over 1.40 lakh doses have been administered in Vellore.
Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Dr TS Selvavinayagam, however, remained cautious about whether TN had reached a peak in the second wave yet. “It is too early to comment. Even in Chennai, we could see the trend reverse. We are trying our best to push the vaccination drive across the State,” he said.
Industrial clusters push up case count in Coimbatore
With 3,250 fresh cases on Wednesday, Coimbatore continued to report the most number of infections after Chennai. This, despite the lockdown being in place for more than a week. Health Department experts claimed that Coimbatore and Tiruppur were witnessing a surge due to clusters emerging from industries. “The infections may come down only if industrial operations are halted in the district. Currently, the tally is static around 3,000 cases in Coimbatore and around 1,500 cases in Tiruppur. The exact scenario will be known only after lockdown,” an official said. Meanwhile, COVID patients were forced to run pillar to post for beds with oxygen supply in government hospitals.
Stricter lockdown can reduce Madurai cases
Madurai has been recording 1,100 to 1,200 positive cases on an average daily and this can be brought down only with stricter implementation of the lockdown and full cooperation of the public, City Health Officer P Kumaragurubaran said. “Moreover, vaccination could be a major tool against COVID. Since Madurai Corporation is the second largest in Tamil Nadu next to Chennai and on a par with Coimbatore, it could be one of the reasons for increase in cases,” the official said. “Uncontrolled movement of daily wage workers, office and bank goers, could be the cause behind people getting vulnerable,” Kumaragurubaran said.
40% inoculation can help prevent 3rd wave: Jacob John
The chances of a third COVID wave can be averted if vaccine coverage increases to 40 per cent, virologist Dr T Jacob John said on Wednesday. Asked about the third wave predictions by ICMR and other health professionals, he said, “It is a shot in the dark without technical evidence. Such conjectures were due to the nation being caught unawares by the second wave when the country let down its guard.” “Just as we had a few months’ gap between the first and second waves, by the middle of June cases will be at their lowest. And if we can vaccinate nearly 40 per cent of the population then there need be no third wave at all,” he said.

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