Vilified by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party for its high number of COVID-19 cases, Kerala state’s apparent poor record may actually hold crucial lessons for the country in containing the outbreak as authorities brace for a possible third wave of infections.

The opposition-ruled, densely populated southern state is currently reporting the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country and accounts for the second-highest national tally — unflattering headline numbers that Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has seized upon as a reflection of bungled local leadership.

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