Need to go beyond the sum total High TPR, low vaccination

    14-Jan-2022
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Time to go a little deeper than the sum total. Comparatively daily low count but there is the need to look beyond the total number of new cases reported everyday but look at the daily positivity rate in some districts with the attention the number deserves. After the devastating second wave of the coronavirus, there has been a lull in the number of daily infection as well as in the death count. The number is still low, comparatively speaking, but remember the spike is no longer in double digit, with Manipur having crossed the three digit mark for the last three consecutive days. If it was 116 on January 11 the figure zoomed to 206 on January 12 and on January 13 the number of new infection was 155. Comparatively better off than what it was like when Manipur used to report above 800 new cases everyday when the second wave was at its peak. However there is the need to look beyond the mere total number and look at the statistics from different angles. Any look at the situation will have to take into account the daily positivity rate and it is according to this that the World Health Organisation had recommended that any place should entertain the idea of opening up only when the positivity rate falls below the 5 percent mark. On January 13, Manipur reported some exceedingly worrying daily positivity rate in some of the hill districts. Recently created district Kamjong leads the table with a disturbingly high 37.3 percent daily positivity rate as 31 people returned positive results out of the 83 samples tested in the last 24 hours. The daily positivity rate was also disturbing in some other districts with Noney recording 28 percent (14 out of 50) and Chandel with 26.1 percent (12 out of 46). These are the figures for three districts which topped the daily positivity rate on January 13, and out of the 16 districts in Manipur, 8 districts reported above the 5 percent daily positivity rate. Not at all a comforting thought and one wonders how the statistics will read if more samples are tested.
It is also worrying to note that the vaccination rate continues to be extremely poor in the State, particularly in some hill districts. The vaccination drive has not covered even half of the eligible folks with only 43.33 percent having received the second dose. Only 57.29 percent have received the first dose. The number is more pathetic when one looks at some of the hill districts which must have pulled down the overall percentage of vaccinated people. Kangpokpi continues to occupy the position of infamy with only 13.35 percent  of the eligible population having been fully vaccinated and 19.91 percent with the first dose. Ukhrul and Kamjong make up the other two spots to round off the last three on the table, with 18.86 percent and 22.90 percent respectively having received the second dose. Only 25.34 percent and 34.44 percent have received the first dose respectively in the said two districts. Other hill districts fare no better with Noney recording 29.20 pc (second dose) and 40.90 pc (first dose), Pherzawl 31.92 pc second dose and 33.93 pc first dose,  Senapati 24.74 pc second dose and 32.86 first dose. The Government would need to do more than appeal to the people to come out for their vaccination. It will need to study ways on how to make vaccination acceptable to the people, particularly the hill people. If some hill based organisations have come out to appeal to the Election Commission of India to defer the first phase of the poll on the ground that it falls on a Sunday, which is a day of prayer and rest for the Christians, why can’t their service be utilised to appeal to the people to come out to get vaccinated ? This is a point worth considering.