Covid numbers show marginal dip, experts think curve may be reaching a plateau

Mumbai’s Covid numbers showed a marginal dip on Saturday, even though the overall case tally stayed above the 20,000-mark for the second consecutive day
This was for the third consecutive day that nearly 70,000 Covid tests have been conducted (Vijay Bate)
This was for the third consecutive day that nearly 70,000 Covid tests have been conducted (Vijay Bate)
Updated on Jan 08, 2022 10:26 PM IST
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ByPratip Acharya

Mumbai Mumbai’s Covid numbers showed a marginal dip on Saturday, even though the overall case tally stayed above the 20,000-mark for the second consecutive day. In the last 24 hours, the city saw 20,318 fresh infections taking the overall case tally to 8,95,098 and five deaths, taking the overall toll to 16,399.

A total of 71,019 tests were conducted in Mumbai on Saturday. This was for the third consecutive day that nearly 70,000 tests have been conducted. The daily positivity rate stood at 28.6 per cent.

With the new cases hovering around 20,000, doctors are wondering whether the third wave is reaching a plateau, which means that the daily cases will remain constant for some time, before a gradual decline. However, experts said that they need to wait for one more week to reach a concrete conclusion.

“For every 65,000 to70,000 tests that are being done, about 15,000 to 20,000 fresh cases are being reported now. So, clearly, there is not much difference in the ratio between the tests conducted and positive cases. It’s possible that if more tests are done, then more cases could be reported,” Dr Rahul Pandit, a member of both the National and Maharashtra Covid task force.

On Friday, municipal commissioner, Iqbal Singh Chahal had cited the example of Omicron spread in South Africa and said that the infection rate started to recede after the fifth week, and added that Mumbai is in the third week.

However, Pandit on Saturday said it will be unfair to compare the scenario of Mumbai with that of South Africa. “The vaccination rate and seropositivity rate in Mumbai is much higher than South Africa. So scientifically, we are in a much better situation. It’s safe to say that we are inching towards the saturation point and the graph is slowly moving towards a plateau. But we need to wait for some more time,” he added.

Dr Shashank Joshi, a member of the state Covid task force, said that there are many people in the city who have taken self Covid tests, and these numbers are not getting added to the final tally.

“It is still premature to say that whether we have reached the plateau or peak. We need to see one more week as the cases can go up by next week as well. However, the key takeaway is that the severity of the fresh cases is lower now,” said Joshi.

Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner and in charge of public health in Mumbai, however, said that the next one week will be important to decide the further course of action.

“In many cases, we can see that patients are developing symptoms two days after testing positive and require immediate medical attention. Keeping this factor in mind, it is safe to assume that hospital admissions may go up next week and we are prepared for that,” said Kakani. He further added that if the positivity rate goes up, then certain curbs may be modified.

Out of the fresh infections reported on Friday, 16,661 (82%) patients were asymptomatic and the BMC data also showed that nearly 1,257 patients were hospitalised in the past 24 hours and the overall hospital bed occupancy level stood at 21 per cent on Saturday.

According to data available on the civic dashboard, as of January 8, nearly 42 per cent of the beds in the private hospitals were full. Senior doctors and medical experts also said that the demand for hospital beds is higher in three private hospitals, which includes Bombay Hospital, Breach Candy and Lilavati Hospital.

Dr Gautam Bhansali, who is a doctor of Bombay Hospital and the coordinator of all the private hospitals for Covid management in the city, said that the occupancy rate of the Covid beds in these three hospitals is around 60 per cent.

“The hospital admissions that are happening now are mostly senior citizens who are coming for the antibody cocktail and these are not long-term admissions as they are getting discharged within 24-48 hours after their treatment,” said Dr V Ravishankar from Lilavati Hospital.

Mayor confirms no weekend curfew

Mumbai mayor, Kishori Pednekar on Saturday said that weekend lockdown will not be imposed in the city and urged Mumbaikars to remain cautious and not panic.

“Even though 20,000 plus cases are being reported in the city regularly, more than 17,000 patients are asymptomatic and doesn’t need medical treatment. Out of the total available beds in Mumbai, more than 80 per cent are still unoccupied and the admission demand for the oxygen beds is also very marginal,” said the mayor on Saturday.

“We can see the transmission rate this time is higher and the positivity rate is also four times than what we have seen last year, but I would urge Mumbaikars to not panic. The situation is well under control and there’s nothing to worry as the symptoms of the latest variant is very mild and our medical infrastructure is well equipped to handle the cases. Instead, citizens must follow all the Covid appropriate behaviour and must not step out without their mask,” said the mayor.

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