Ritika Gupta, Swati Solanki, Sakshi Sharda, Ishika Chaudhary, Arjun Kumar
The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected Indian states and Union Territories and Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have been no exception. Due to issues like lack of infrastructure and human resources, both rural and urban people were caged in the web of grief and misery wherein even to see one’s loved one last time who succumbed to Coronavirus became an act of privilege.
Focusing on the Rural Realities around the country during the pandemic, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi organized a Panel Discussion on “Rural Realities | Telangana & Andhra Pradesh | Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages” on May 14, 2021.
This article is an excerpt of the presentation given by Gby Atee and the IMPRI team which provided an overview of the COVID-19 situation in India with special reference to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to set the context for the broader discussion on the topic by the esteemed panelists.
About Telangana and Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh is a state in the Eastern coastal region of India and it has a population of about 49.67 million and consists of 13 districts. Telangana that separated from Andhra Pradesh on June 2, 2014, is divided into 31 districts and has a population of 3.52 crores.
Both the states house more than 60% of their population in rural areas. The Decadal growth rate of Telangana stands at 13.5%, which is higher than Andhra Pradesh at 10.9%. On the basis of Gross Domestic Product, Telangana ranks 7th while Andhra Pradesh ranks 8th among Indian states and UTs.
In terms of Per Capita Income, Telangana is ranked second and Andhra Pradesh seventh. Looking at the progress made in Sustainable Development Goals, Andhra Pradesh is ranked 3rd, which is ahead of Telangana at 7th position.
COVID-19 Second Wave
During the first wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic both the states were well placed in the country both in terms of positive cases and fatalities as compared with other States in the country. However, among both the states, Andhra Pradesh had a heavier COVID cases burden as compared to that of Telangana.
During the second wave, Andhra Pradesh stood as the second-highest contributor in the country, and Telangana at the same time stood as the ninth highest contributor of the positive cases. As of 14 May 2021, total cases in Telangana reached about 5 lakhs, with 56,917 active cases at a rate of 11%. For Andhra Pradesh total cases stood at about 13 lakhs, with 2,01,042 active cases at a rate of 15%.
Counting the Dead
In terms of percentile scores of case fatality and doubling time, Telangana recorded a slightly higher case fatality rate than Andhra Pradesh but the doubling time in Telangana was lower than that of Andhra Pradesh. The Effective Reproduction Number of both the states stood above the national estimate, whereas the Test Positive Rates were lower.
As of 14 May 2021, the death toll in Telangana reached a total of 2,867 deaths with a death rate of 0.6% and in Andhra Pradesh, it stood at 9,077 deaths with a death rate of 0.7%.
Doses of the Covid vaccine administered in Andhra Pradesh, as of 14 May 2021, included 53,32,845 first doses and 20,80,601 second doses. In Telangana, the cumulative number of people who have received the first dose in the state stood at 43,75,396 and the second dose at 11,03,872.
Lives and Livelihood in both the States have been deeply impacted, however strict lockdowns helped in bringing down the total tally of cases. There have been issues in registering and data availability of testing and the number of cases in Telangana. An important aspect that both the states failed to handle is the improvement in health infrastructure, in terms of primary health care centers, Number of doctors, nurses, and medicines.
The distribution of vaccines had not been systematic and successful, due to reasons like lack of awareness among the rural population, preferential treatments at various levels, and lack of facilities for online booking of vaccine slots.
In order to minimize the impact of second-wave and prepare for a third wave, issues of lack of oxygen, health infrastructure, and vaccination, which has also added to the financial burden on most rural as well as urban households, need to be addressed in moving towards healthy and prosperous Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.