The daily surge of coronavirus reached a new high in Bengal today, with the state logging 17,403 fresh cases – up from 17,207 over a 24-hour period on Tuesday. The number of fatalities was also the highest, with 89 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours. The positivity rate has climbed from 6.79 per cent ten days ago to 7.81 per cent.
While Kolkata has always been the epicentre of the disease in Bengal, today’s data from the state health ministry showed that North 24 Parganas has surged ahead with 3,912 cases. In Kolkata, the number was 3,901. North 24 Parganas recorded 21 Covid deaths while the number in Kolkata was 23.
The surge came as the last round of election was held in the state.
Campaigning in the state – mega rallies by the BJP and the ruling Trinamool Congress – has been one of the key reasons for the explosion in numbers.
On the first day of polling on March 27, Bengal recorded 812 new infections and two deaths due to Covid, while during the fifth phase of polling on April 17, the cases shot up almost 10 times with 7,713 infections and 34 deaths.
Earlier this month, the ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition Congress had requested the Election Commission to club together the remaining three phases of the election. The Commission had denied the request.
Two candidates in this phase of elections have been hit by Covid. An Independent candidate at Malda’s Baisabnagar has died. Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury, BJP candidate from Englishbazar who tested Covid-positive, is admitted to a hospital at Kolkata.
Yesterday, Nandita Sinha, the wife of Trinamool Congress candidate Kajal Sinha who died of Covid, filed a murder case against the Election Commission.
In her complaint, she said the Commission had “deliberately ignored all evidences of the impending catastrophe” even after an alarm was sounded by the Calcutta High Court, the state government and the Trinamool Congress.