Friday, March 31, 2023

Covid cases hit four-month high; H3N2 numbers spike

India is currently seeing spike in covid cases with the emergence of the new XBB.1.16 variant. Apart from this the country is also seeing surge in H3N2 cases. The country is also witnessing a rise in ICU admissions due to influenza infections.
Covid-19 cases have risen to their highest in about four months – there were less than 200 cases across India at the end of February, which rose to 618 as of March 16. Ministry data shows 796 cases on Friday. Deaths have remained in single digits.
As of March 17, India recorded a single-day rise of 796 coronavirus infections.
Rapidly spreading XBB.1 descendant, XBB.1.16, may be to blame for the current spike in Covid cases in India, according to foreign and Indian scientists studying the SARS-CoV2 variations, as per reports. According to an international platform that tracks Covid variations, India has the most sequences (48), followed by Brunei (22), the United States (15), and Singapore (14). This subvariant is becoming more common in at least four nations, including India and researchers monitoring Covid variations around the world have discovered the XBB.1.16 spreading rapidly in some areas.
In India, at least five states have higher positivity rates than the rest of the country. The positivity rate is the number of tests which are positive for Covid-19 per 100 tests conducted. The national number was 0.61 per cent for the week ended March 15. Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka had a positivity rate of 1.1-2.8 per cent. Kerala and Karnataka topped the list.
Cases of influenza-A subtype H3N2 are on the rise, with a few deaths reported across India.
There have been 583 cases, or around nine daily, since the first week of January.
“We have seen a significant increase in viral cases in recent weeks, with the number of cases rising by 90 per cent over the past month and 85 per cent over the past week alone. Per day, about 30-35 patients are coming with the same viruses. While some are of H1N1 or other respiratory viruses, the majority are turning out to be H3N2,” said Ambarish Joshi, pulmonologist at Primus Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi. Mumbai doctors say there is a 100-150 per cent rise in patient visits with flu-like symptoms.
In Mumbai, the state government has already briefed city hospitals to be ready for any surge in demand for hospitalisation in the coming weeks, said Joy Chakraborty, COO, PD Hinduja Hospital. Tamil Nadu is keeping 170,000 beds ready for respiratory ailments at all times.
Amid rising cases of H3N2 and other respiratory illnesses the Puducherry government has declared holidays for schools for 11 days from March 16-26.
The Centre has already written to six states: Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana on Thursday warning them of a rise in Covid-19 positivity rates.
In 2023 (till 28 February), a total of 955 H1N1 cases were reported. Majority of the H1N1 cases are reported from Tamil Nadu (545), Maharashtra (170), Gujarat (74), Kerala (42) and Punjab (28). A total of 3038 laboratory confirmed cases of various subtypes of Influenza including H3N2 have been reported till first week of March by the States.
Data from health facilities indicate that during the month of January 2023, a total of 397,814 cases of Acute Respiratory Illness/Influenza like Illness (ARI/ILI) were reported from the country that increased slightly to 436,523 during February, 2023. In the first 9 days of March 2023, this number stands at 133,412 cases.


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