Published on May 01, 2021

AHMEDABAD: “April is the cruellest month”: thus opens ‘The Waste Land’ of T S Eliot in 1922. The line finds grim resonance with Gujarat of 2021 — in April, the state recorded 2.6 lakh cases and 2,600 deaths, accounting for 46% cases and 37% mortalities recorded during the entire pandemic so far.

To put the figure in perspective, from March 2020 to April 2021, Gujarat has recorded 5.67 lakh cases and 7,183 deaths. From January 1to March 31, Gujarat had recorded 62,644 cases and 213 deaths, which is 24% and 8% of what April alone recorded. In fact, the entire year of 2020 had recorded 2.45 lakh cases from March to December and had recorded 4,306 deaths.

“The cases had started peaking from mid-March as Gujarat had recorded its first four-digit daily tally on March 17 at 1,122. In April alone, the state recorded 26 peaks (highest daily cases), which was not seen earlier. On April 18, Gujarat for the first time recorded 10,000+ daily cases, which has continued till date,” said a city-based epidemiologist.

The biggest difference between the peak in 2020 and 2021is the deluge of cases. As of Friday evening, Gujarat had 1.42 lakh active Covid cases, which in 2020 did not go beyond 18,000. Moreover, the cases peaked in every district which was in sharp contrast to 2020 when cases rose to all time high in a phase-wise manner for cities like Ahmedabad and Surat, giving authorities time to prepare and mobilize resources.

“Today the state has over 80,000 Covid beds and daily consumption or requirement of about 1,000 metric tons of oxygen. Share of cities in overall numbers is still high, but now even relatively smaller centres also have over 350-500 active cases, putting pressure on the entire healthcare system,” said a city-based critical care specialist. While the state health department officials are still reluctant to blame the Covid variant for the surge, experts have already pointed at viral mutation as the cause of change in spread and severity pattern.

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