Explained: How Covid-19 second surge has hit UP hard

On Monday, the state’s active caseload breached 2 lakh and became the second worst-hit state in the country after Maharashtra.

While Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in the country with a population of over 20 crore, managed to stave off the Covid crisis in the first wave when the infection peaked around September last year, the state has been hit hard by the second wave of the pandemic.

On Monday, the state’s active caseload breached 2 lakh and became the second worst-hit state in the country after Maharashtra. UP recorded 28,287 new Covid cases in the last 24 hours — the second highest in the country – and 167 fatalities — by far the highest in a single day for UP – taking the total deaths to close to 10,000.

Burgeoning caseload & effect on health infra

On Monday, as the active caseload reached 2,08,523 in UP, the ferocity by which the infection has spread in the second wave could be gauged from the fact that in nearly three weeks, the active cases increased by 21 times. Also, the current active cases are three times the last year’s September peak.


Notably, the state added the last one lakh active cases in mere five days.

Since the active cases depend on recoveries [active cases = total cases – (total recovered + total deaths)], the burgeoning active caseload of the state meant that the recovery in the second wave has been slow.

Last September, the number of new cases and recoveries were almost the same as the cases rose steadily unlike this time. As a result, the active cases rose from 55,538 on September 1 to 68,235 on September 17 and then it started declining. However, with the cases increasing by leaps and bound with every passing day now, combined with the slow pace of recovery meant that the active caseload surged from 11,918 on April 1 to over 2.08 lakh now.

The high number of active cases has thus put a lot of strain on the medical infrastructure of the state with a high requirement for beds, medical oxygen and medicines. At present, as many as 97,580 patients are reportedly admitted in government Covid hospitals and 4,100 are getting treatment in private hospitals. Last year, the state government had claimed to have arranged over 1.51 lakh beds against maximum of 68,235 active cases.

The spread of virus

Another important difference this time from the first peak last year is the spread of the virus. In the first wave, the high number of cases were concentrated to Tier-1 districts like Lucknow, Kanpur Nagar, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Meerut, Ghaziabad and Noida. The present surge, however, has spread across the state. The state health department’s Monday dashboard shows that apart from high caseload districts – Lucknow with 5,897 new cases, Varanasi with 2,668, Prayagraj with 1,576 and Kanpur Nagar with 1,365 — at least 56 of the total 75 districts have reported over 100 cases. Out of these, seven districts reported over 800 cases, five over 500 cases, 23 others over 200 cases and 21 between 100 and 200. At least 43 districts have over 1,000 active cases.

High positivity rate

While the state government says that it has ramped up the testing to over 2 lakh samples every day, which include RT-PCR and rapid antigen tests, the positivity rate has jumped almost three-fold. The current positivity rate has been close to 14 per cent. Back in September last year, when the state labs were testing around 1.30 to 1.50 lakh samples every day, the positivity rate hovered around 4 per cent.

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