Beware North Bengal, things are not as rosy as they would have you believe.
The recent days have induced a lot of changes in our approach towards the lockdown, social distancing and thereby the corona crisis. Although the people look to be more eased up and casual than anytime before, the numbers and statistics of the late, speak loud and clear about an inevitably major crisis that we are staring right into. The story is no different for us in North Bengal, or to be more correct, it is even worse than what could be imagined.
Just a week-long of data shows that the COVID19 has been spreading like wildfire in the North Bengal region posing many serious questions about the handling and controlling of the virus. The data shows that the number of confirmed cases between 29th May and 7th June in North Bengal has increased by as much as 357%, from 152 confirmed cased to 544 confirmed cases. Similarly, the number of active cases in the North Bengal region has also seen a steep rise of 252% in the same period of time, where the number of active cases increased from 123 to 310.
It is important here to note that the rise in Corona cases in North Bengal has been significantly high for all the districts under it, including Darjeeling and Kalimpong, where the number of confirmed cases has increased in Darjeeling by 593% between 29th May and 7th June, while the number of active cases has increased by 957%. As for Kalimpong, the number of confirmed cases has increased by 257% and the number of active cases has increased by around 1100% within the same time.
The graphs below could be used to understand the scenario in a more comprehensive manner:
The above graph shows the change in the total number of confirmed Corona cases across different districts in North Bengal between 29th May and 7th June. The blue columns in the graph indicate the number of confirmed cases on 29th May while the red columns indicate the number of confirmed cases on 7th June. The graph clearly shows that the number of confirmed cases have gone up for all the districts within the period by a considerable amount the worst hit by the increase was Cooch Behar. Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Jalpaiguri do are also very significant in terms of percentage of growth. North Dinajpur is indicated to have the highest number of confirmed cases of all the districts as of yet.
The above graph again indicates the change in the number of active Corona cases across different districts in North Bengal between May 29th and June 7th. What is interesting to note here is that even though in the first graph we could see that North Dinajpur is attributed to the highest number of confirmed cases among all the districts, it is the only district that has seen a fall in the number of active cases through the week. In fact, as of 7th June, the number of active cases in the district is lower than that of Cooch Behar and Darjeeling, just a little over that of Jalpaiguri. For all other Districts, there is a sharp increase in the number of active cases, the worst hit of all being Cooch Behar, which also has the highest number of corona cases at present.
The above two pie charts compare the distribution of Total Confirmed Corona cases across the different districts of North Bengal between 29th May and June 7th. As the pie charts show, North Dinajpur attributed to over 75% of the confirmed corona cases as on 29th May, while the other district in total contributed to the remaining cases. Just in a week on 7th June, we see that the situation changes drastically, with the contribution of North Dinajpur contracting down while that of the other districts inflating significantly.
The above two pie charts, similarly, compare the district wise composition of active corona cases in North Bengal between May 29th and June 7th. As the first pie chart suggests, as on May 29th North Dinajpur had 86% of all the active corona cases in North Bengal, while the other districts had little to none active cases. Just a week later on 7th June, Coochbehar is indicated to have the highest percentage of all the active corona cases in North Bengal consisting of 39% of the total active cases while North Dinajpur is indicated to have only 16% of the total cases.
In some cases, the number may seem to look small, but our concern is beyond the number of confirmed cases. As Corona, by its nature, spreads in a dynamic manner, the rate of increase becomes a major concern to think about. And as we can note, for all the districts in North Bengal have witnessed a rapid spike in the number of confirmed cases, which suggests that the virus should go on to multiply at a higher rate in the coming days, even for Darjeeling and Kalimpong.
|Total Cases on May 29th
|Total Cases on June 7th
|% increase in total number of cases
The above table compares the change in the total confirmed cases of COVID19 across the country, the state with North Bengal. What comes as a major concern here is that in the past one week, the percentage increase in the total confirmed cases in North Bengal is more than twice higher than the percentage increase of the total confirmed cases in West Bengal or in India. The same can be noticed for the case of total active cases, which is shown by the table as below:
|Total active case on May 29
|Total active case on June 7
|% increase in total active number of cases
The above table shows that even in case of total active cases, the percentage growth in the number of cases is North Bengal is almost twice higher than that in West Bengal or in the entire country altogether in the past one week.
The sudden spike in the increase of the number of cases in North Bengal comes as a grave worry for all of us, as well as places a very serious concern having the lockdown eased out and people developing a very casual approach towards it. People have accepted Corona as the truth of the day and have already prepared to live with it. As such, the chances of the virus spreading in an even faster rate should be the closest truth we are walking towards.
But what should be the reason behind the abrupt rise in the number of cases in North Bengal? The delayed process of bringing in the migrants who had be stuck outside? One thing that we need to notice is that most of the recent cases confirmed in and around our region has been of migrants who came back from outside. Should the State Government’s reluctance to bring in the migrants at the earliest should be the reason? Or should it be the decision to send the migrants to home quarantine instead of institutional quarantine? Even those coming from the red zones were sent for home quarantine if they didn’t show any symptom. Could it be considered to be one of the major set backs in decision making?
Keeping the causes apart, the most important question we face today is if we are prepared to face the worst if it comes. Considering the rate at which Corona has grown in the past week, ugly possibilities couldn’t be ruled out. Do we have enough infrastructures to help us through the crisis if the situation goes out of hand?
Nonetheless, we hope all of us develop enough sanity to keep ourselves home and safe and thereby help in controlling the rising number of cases. Let us follow the protocols of social distancing and hygiene even if we are forced to step out for necessary works.