Kerala, which had dealt with the deadly Nipah virus a year earlier, was already on high alert. The Kerala Health minister, KK Shailaja, had activated emergency tracking and treatment protocol as soon as news had started filtering in about a new germ ravaging Wuhan.
A year later, the contagion has devastated several countries and mutated variants are popping up. Over 10 million people in India have tested positive for the infection and more than 1.5 lakh have succumbed to it. It seared through most states in the last quarter of 2020 and is on the wane now. In Kerala, however, the virus continues to spread. The state tops the country in daily infections. The Union health ministry said two states accounted for nearly two-thirds of India’s active cases: Kerala is hosting just under 40% of them, while Maharashtra has 25%. The contagion hit peak daily infections on September 16 in India when 97,859 people tested positive. The proportion of older people is higher in Kerala than the rest of the country and it is also known as the diabetes capital of India. That makes the population extremely vulnerable.
The Economic Survey 2020-21 notes that UP, Gujarat and Bihar restricted the case spread the best; Kerala, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh saved the most lives; Maharashtra under-performed the most in restricting the spread of cases and in saving lives.