54% Karnataka households surveyed have one or more individuals with COVID/viral symptoms
- ● Percentage of households with one or more unwell has risen from 33% in August to 54% in January
- ● Official data shows just over 1100 active COVID cases in the state and may be significantly understated
January 5, 2023, New Delhi: Over the last few weeks, Karnataka has been witnessing a surge in cases of COVID including the new variant JN.1. With only those having severe symptoms, needing hospital admissions or having co-morbidities undertaking the COVID RT-PCR test, the official COVID case counts are grossly understated.
Few weeks back, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare sent an advisory to the district and state authorities to maintain surveillance of “trends of influenza like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI)” leading to the state government stepping up vigilance. The states were asked to monitor “increase in respiratory illness predominantly due to usual causes like influenza, mycoplasma pneumonia, SARS-CoV-2.” In addition, the states were asked to review hospital preparedness in terms of the availability of beds, masks, oxygen cylinders, antibiotics and ventilators.
With majority of the individuals with viral/COVID symptoms not undertaking the COVID RT-PCR test, LocalCircles decided to conduct a citizen survey in Karnataka to estimate the magnitude of viral illnesses. The survey received over 3,000 responses from residents of Karnataka. 62% respondents were men while 38% respondents were women.
54% of households surveyed in Karnataka currently have one or more individuals unwell with viral/ COVID like symptoms
The survey question asked respondents, “How many individuals do you have in your household in Karnataka who currently have one or more COVID/ flu/ viral fever symptoms like fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, headache, joint pain, body ache, respiratory issues, etc.?” Out of 3,783 who responded to the query, 23% indicated that ‘4 or more individuals” in their household have one or more COVID/ viral fever symptoms; 23% of respondents indicated “2-3 individuals”; 8% indicated “1 individual” and 46% stated “no one, thankfully”. To sum up, 54% of households surveyed in Karnataka currently have one or more individuals unwell with viral/COVID like symptoms.
To understand the survey findings better, one can compare them to the results of a similar survey in August 2023, when 33% of households surveyed in Karnataka were found to have one or more individuals down with COVID/ viral symptoms. Currently 54% of households surveyed have one or more individuals unwell with similar symptoms indicating a surge.
In summary, with 54% of households surveyed in Karnataka currently having one or more individuals unwell with viral/COVID like symptoms, it is established that many more are likely undergoing COVID than what is captured in the Government COVID case load data which shows only 1100 odd active cases in the whole state. The Government must examine cases of death and severe disease and conduct genome sequencing such that if there is any severe variant, it can be identified. Also, the Government must enforce compliance to COVID norms like masking and social distancing, atleast in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor public spaces.
The survey received over 3,000 responses from residents of Karnataka. 62% respondents were men while 38% respondents were women. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants were validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.