Complacency causing spike in COVID-19 cases in MP: Experts

After registering a drop in COVID-19 cases for some weeks, the viral disease is again showing an upward trend in Madhya Pradesh, specially its industrial hub Indore, with experts blaming people for lowering their guard against the pandemic.
Since the past one week, more than 200 COVID-19 cases are being reported daily in MP, prompting the state government to send some samples of patients to labs in Delhi and Pune to check whether a new variant of the virus has found its way into the state, a government official said.
The Centre recently said four people were detected with the South Africa variant of SARS-CoV-2 in India in January, while one tested positive for the Brazil variant strain in the first week of February.
In September 2020, Madhya Pradesh witnessed a daily count of more than 2,000 cases for 10 consecutive days, but the graph started going down by the year-end.
Earlier this month, the daily COVID-19 cases were below 200 in the state, but crossed the mark on February 14.
So far, the state has reported a total of 2,59,128 COVID-19 cases and 3,850 deaths due to the disease.
Out of 257 cases recorded in MP on Saturday, 131 were from Indore, which has been the worst-hit by COVID-19 in the state, as per official figures.
Indore has so far reported 929 deaths due to COVID-19, thehighest among all districts in the state.
All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Bhopal, Director Dr Sarman Singh told PTI that the cases were swelling as MP shares borders with Maharashtra, which has been badly hit by the pandemic.
Besides, people have become complacent against the pandemic, he said.
“The infection was expected to re-surge. Therefore, people should not be complacent till the last man in the country is cured of the pandemic,” he said.
Amid the spike, 100 samples of patients, mostly from Indore, have been sent to the National Centre for Disease Control in New Delhi and the Pune-based National Institute of Virology to check whether a new virus strain has entered MP, a government official said.
Indore’s nodal officer for COVID-19 prevention, Amit Malakar, also said the spurt in cases of late is due to the “careless approach of people”, after the graph of cases showed a downward trajectory last month.
“Nowadays, people in many places are seen without masks or not wearing face coverings properly. Besides, adherence to physical distancing norms and use of sanitisers have also gone down drastically,” he said.
An analysis of the government data shows the virus positivity rate – proportion of positive cases from the total number of samples – which was 0.9 per cent in MP on February 12, shot up to 1.9 per cent on February 19.
A total of 161 people in MP tested positive on February 12, and the number rose to 297 on February 19.
The number of daily COVID-19 cases has been above the 200-mark since February 14.