A health worker of Pune district council gears up before collecting swab samples to test for COVID-19 infection at BJS hostel, in Wagholi, Pune.(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)
A health worker of Pune district council gears up before collecting swab samples to test for COVID-19 infection at BJS hostel, in Wagholi, Pune.(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

Covid-19 curve likely to flatten in Pune by August-end

An epidemiologist from PCMC, however, said the number of cases in the industrial town will stabilize sooner than September-end, as predicted by others
Hindustan Times, Pune | By Yogesh Joshi
UPDATED ON AUG 11, 2020 05:05 PM IST

The two jumbo facilities being set up in the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad may not be very useful for patients from the city as administration expects Pune’s cases are likely to stabilise by August 25. However, these facilities will be utilised to their fullest as Pimpri-Chinchwad is likely to witness a surge in the cases, followed by rural parts of the district, according to officials.

The two jumbo facilities are being set up at College of Engineering, Pune and Annasaheb Magar Ground, Pimpri. The administration has set the target to make them operational by August 19.

According to Pune divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao, various models including the one developed by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay suggest that by August 25, cases in the city will stabilise. From there on the next hotspot will be Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) limits, where the curve is likely to flatten by September-end and by October-end, the number of cases in Pune’s rural parts will stabilise.

As on August 9, city’s progressive Covid-19 tally was 65,966 and the active cases at 15,812. In the case of PCMC, total progressive cases in the industrial town are 28,529, while in rural parts of the district, the total cases are 11,028.

“Areas in PMC will see a sign of relief by August 25 and this has been indicated by various research institutions including IIT Bombay. This prediction is based on various algorithms and it looks like Covid-19 cases in PMC will peak by last week of August and thereafter cause of concern will be PCMC followed by rural areas, where the case fatality rate is higher,” said Rao.

The higher case fatality rate is an indication of the prevalence of an unidentified number of positive cases, along with a relative lack of sufficient health infrastructure. In Pune rural, the average case fatality rate is 3.1 per cent while in Pune city, it is 2.3 per cent.

According to Rao, PCMC behind by four to five weeks behind PMC in attaining a peak in Covid-19 cases and rural area again are behind by three to four weeks behind PCMC. “So when we consider district as a unit, it looks like jumbo facilities will be fully utilised. And once they are in use, it will offer respite to existing health infrastructure, which is under tremendous stress,” said Rao.

“Within rural areas of Pune, the spread of virus is currently along the semi-urban areas and alongside the highways with administration expecting its spread in market areas in various villages,” said Ayush Prasad, chief executive officer, Pune zilla parishad.

Prasad said, “Currently for every 100 cases, seven are from rural parts and the cases may go up in the coming days. However, we are taking every possible step to control its spread.”

In the rural parts, Haveli and Khed have reported maximum cases so far, he added.

An epidemiologist from the PCMC, however, said the number of cases in the industrial town will stabilize sooner than September-end, as predicted by others.

Dr Pavan Salve, PCMC health and medical officer and epidemiologist, said, “The overall cases in Pune and PCMC are increasing currently. Till the end of August, the positive cases in PCMC will slow down. Although PCMC will be crossing the 30,000 active cases mark, it will come under control in the next 15 days and it will not turn into a new Covid-19 hotspot as predicted.”

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