The previous 1,000 cases had been recorded in five days. While the number of tests has been steadily going up which has pulled up the number of positive cases as well, there has been a definite spurt in positivity rate over the last fortnight, said experts. “This is a result of the lockdown withdrawal and influx of migrants. There could be thousands of asymptomatic carriers who have now mingled with the rest of the population and the fallout will be a faster-than-ever spread of the pandemic. This could be the worst phase,” said RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS) consultant Arindam Biswas.
Despite the number of tests crossing 9,000 a day around a fortnight ago, positivity rate hovered around 2.5%-2.6%. Then, Amphan struck and the distancing norms suffered. Ever since, the positivity rate has been spiralling up, touching 2.8% on Thursday. It will now climb higher since the curbs will only get relaxed from now on, said pulmonologist Dhiman Ganguly. More tests, return of migrant labourers and breaking of social distancing norms have combined to contribute to the sharp spurt in cases, said Ganguly.
“A good chunk of migrant workers seems to be testing positive and spreading the virus further. Also, people have become very relaxed with the lockdown and social distancing norms with the passage of time. This is for people who are poor as they need to feed the family. But even well-to-do people who have started violating precautionary measures,” said Ganguly who is also part of the expert committee on Covid-19 set up by the state.
Virologist Amitava Nandi said post-Amphan, in addition to the protests across the city, many people in the affected areas were put in camps together. Since the incubation period of the virus is 14 to 20 days, more people will now be testing positive for Covid, felt Nandi. “Also many migrant labourers seem to have gone home straight or fled quarantine centres. Many of these people could be asymptomatic carriers. Adding to it is the opening up of public transport,” said Nandi.
It had taken the state around a month and ten days to record the first 1,000 cases. The next 1,000 were recorded in 11 days. The last thousand were recorded in four days.