Over 40K 'breakthrough' COVID-19 cases in Kerala; Centre flags concern
Kerala has reported more than 40,000 "breakthrough" COVID-19 cases. Breakthrough infections involve cases where individuals contracted the pathogen for a second time or after being vaccinated against it. The Union Health Ministry has reportedly raised concerns about this worrying trend in Kerala, which is currently leading India's outbreak. The Centre has reportedly asked the Kerala government to send all such cases for genome sequencing.
Does it indicate a new mutant variant?
Speaking to India Today, a source in the Union Health Ministry—who visited Kerala—did not rule out the possibility of a new variant. "The rise in the number of breakthrough infections and re-infections is possibly due to a variant which is escaping immunity," the source said. It is suspected this may not be a further mutation of the Delta variant, rather a new variant altogether.
Health Ministry planning 100% genomic sequencing of such cases
The Centre is reportedly planning 100% genomic sequencing of all 40,000 samples to rule out the possibility of a new variant. The virus sample taken from a diagnosed patient is analyzed and compared with other cases. Sequencing of the samples will tell the researchers if it is a different coronavirus variant that is escaping the immunity generated by vaccination.
What did Centre's team visiting Kerala find?
The central team that visited Kerala warned that the state may witness a drastic increase in COVID-19 cases in the coming days if proper measures are not taken. It found that over 80% of the cases were of the Delta variant. It also said that the high number of the older population in the state has contributed to the unnatural rise in cases.
Unlocking measures for festivities have created a challenging situation: Expert
Dr. Sujeet Kumar Singh, Director, National Centre for Disease Control, said the unlocking of several activities for the upcoming Onam festival and the opening of tourism have all "created challenging scenarios." He also cautioned that cases may reach 4.62 lakh if this trend continued.
Pathanamthitta district reporting highest 'breakthrough' infections
Kerala's Pathanamthitta district is reporting the highest number of breakthrough COVID-19 cases. In Pathanamthitta, 14,974 people were found infected after the first vaccine dose, while 5,042 were found infected after being fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, Kerala has been reporting over 20,000 cases daily for the past few weeks. On Wednesday, the state reported 21,119 cases and 152 deaths.