People May No Longer Face Lockdowns: Officials | Chennai News


CHENNAI: Fresh Covid-19 cases dropped to 480 on Saturday, pushing the Omicron-fuelled third wave below the baseline. Two people died and the cumulative toll tally reached 38,002. At the end of the day, there were 7,162 people still under treatment for the viral infection.
“The third wave was the fastest to rise and fall,” said health secretary J Radhakrishnan. From a baseline of around 500 cases on December 24, daily cases peaked to more than 30,000 a day in less than a month on January 22. From there it once again fell below the baseline of 500 cases a day in 35 days on Saturday. In the second wave, it took 77 days for cases to peak from 500 to 36,184 on May 21, 2021, and neared the baseline on December 24, when the state added 597 new cases. The daily cases did not go below 500 in the second wave.
Along with fresh cases, the number of hospitalisations, deaths, test positivity rates have all come down swiftly, Radhakrishnan said. The weekly average test positivity rate, which was hovering around 20% at the peak of the infection in the last week of January, is now 1.1% in the state. Some districts such as Coimbatore, Nilgiris, Chengalpet and Chennai have a TPR marginally above the state average. The highest weekly average test positivity rate was recorded in Coimbatore (2.1%) and Nilgiris (2%).
On Saturday, Chennai reported 126 new cases followed by Coimbatore (72) and Chengalpet (55). Fresh cases in all other districts were 20 or below. Five districts — Kallakurichi, Mayiladuthurai, Perambalur, Theni and Thirupathur – had no new cases.
Of the 7,162 active cases, 1,207 are in isolation wards of hospitals. Among them, 204 patients are in the intensive care units. On Saturday, Chennai and Tiruvarur reported one death each and 36 other districts had no deaths. “We had fewer hospitalisations and deaths in this wave. We were able to manage the wave better because of several reasons. More people had antibodies against the virus either because they were infected or because they were vaccinated,” said director of public health Dr TS Selvavinayagam. “People also realised that masks, social distancing and vaccination helps,” he said.
Officials say that with the experience in the third wave and tools such as vaccination, they are confident that people may no longer face lockdowns or large scale restrictions. Data from the immunisation wing show that nearly 92% of people above 15 years have taken at least one dose of the vaccine and 72% have taken both doses.
Health organisations such as the WHO have not ruled out the emergence of newer and more dangerous variants.

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