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Anantnag: Covid infections in the month of January, here in Kashmir valley, have swelled past the individual tally of at least six previous months even as the administration has taken a slew of measures – including the closure of educational institutes – to curb the spread.

So far Kashmir valley has witnessed 4267 fresh infections in January, as the total tally in the ten districts has risen to 219317, among whom 2399 people have lost their lives to the infection.

The rise in the number of infections has been nothing short of meteoric. On January 12 Kashmir Reader had reported that the first ten days of the month witnessed around 55 percent of December’s tally.

“The infections this month have now surpassed not only December but five other previous months as well, including November, October, September, August, and July,” an official, privy to data on Covid-19, told Kashmir Reader,

The numbers are on an alarming rise and if the experts are to be believed, the daily tally of cases might spike to five times that of the highest daily numbers in the second wave.

“The highest daily infections in the second wave were recorded at 3500. Now it might be five times that, because of Omicron’s super spreading nature,” Dr. Parvez Koul, SKIMS Director and a renowned pulmonologist, told Kashmir Reader recently.

Koul’s words ring true only if the rise in the number of infections during the first 13 days of January is kept into consideration. From a hundred-odd case on January 1, the ten districts of Kashmir valley have witnessed close to 2000 cases on January 13.

“That is a 1900 percent increase in daily cases. It is mind-boggling,” an official, privy to data on Covid-19, told Kashmir Reader, “And the worrying factor is that we do not see the numbers coming down any time soon,”

From imposing fines for not wearing masks, administering booster doses, and closing down educational institutions – the administration has apparently been on its toes to curb the rise in the number of infections. Nothing seems to be working as of now.

The silver lining though is that the experts believe there was no need to panic, as their assertions are based on the number of people needing hospitalization as of now. A recent health department report suggested that only a little more than 5 percent of the Covid beds available in J&K remained occupied.

“We have a total of 4794 dedicated Level-1 and Level-2 Covid beds. Only 261 of them remain occupied as of now,” the report, released January 13, reads. “Following the precautions is the way forward. Don’t panic,” it adds.

The number of deaths caused by the virus this month further reinforces the assertions of the experts. Kashmir valley has witnessed 10 people losing their lives so far in the month of January.

“If we compare the number to December’s (38), and November’s (35) death toll, then the rise in infections might not be as worrying as it may seem,” the official told Kashmir Reader.

Meanwhile, district-wise, Srinagar, Baramulla, and Budgam districts are the worst hit in terms of the number of infections. Cumulatively, the three districts have reported 3409 fresh infections this month, which is around 80 percent of the total infections in the Kashmir valley.

“Srinagar alone has 1905 fresh infections this month and continues to be the worst hit, as it has been since the beginning of the pandemic,” the official said, adding that Baramulla has 934 infections so far this month, while Budgam district has reported 570 fresh cases.

Shopian district in South Kashmir is the least affected with only eight fresh cases in January. “In fact, the South Kashmir region, comprising four districts, has only 411 new cases this month which is lower than the individual tally of Budgam district,” the official said.

He said that the other districts should look southwards and see what was being done right in Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam, and Shopian districts.

 





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