This paper discusses Kerala’s response to the COVID-19, particularly in the first wave of the pandemic. It addresses why the state is particularly economically and demographically vulnerable to a public health crisis. Through a scan of government guidelines, daily advisories, state news and social media, the paper analyses over 200 governmental measures taken in the first 100 days and how these measures potentially impacted transmission and other outcomes. It looks at trends in tests, isolations and hospitalisations across the state and examines the resulting variation in the infection and fatality rates at the district, state and national level. Further, it describes the historical and contemporary political and social factors that have enabled the state to build its capacity for disaster preparation and response. Finally, it examines what has changed in the consequent waves of the pandemic and discusses the replicability of the “Kerala model”.


Note: This work was done by the author/s when they were a part of the IDFC Institute and is republished here with permission.