Maha active cases may cross 1.1mn by April
The number of active Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra is likely to cross the 1,100,000 mark by April 30, without adequate measures to control the spread of the virus, such as imposing restrictions on movement or business, according to the state health department. These figures are significant because the highest number of active cases in the entire country was around 1,100,000 during the previous wave of Covid-19 in September 2020, Pradeep Vyas, principal secretary of the state health department said on Wednesday. The issue was discussed during a video conference with the central government on Wednesday morning, Vyas said.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray also urged citizens to strictly follow restrictions imposed by the state government during the past few days, wear face masks in public places, and maintain social distancing. During an interaction with the media on Wednesday, Thackeray said, “It is important to create awareness about the real situation of Covid-19 on ground, so citizens can be careful and reduce stepping out. Many businesses are urging the government to allow them to operate as usual. We do not want to hamper any business or inconvenience citizens. We want to reduce non-essential commute and crowding at public places to control the spread of the infection.”
According to the state’s original projections, Maharashtra would have crossed 472,000 active Covid-19 cases by April 12. However, Maharashtra has already crossed this figure as of Tuesday. “Our second wave began around February 11. Now, we are recording more cases than we predicted. The state has already recorded 50% more active cases during this wave, in comparison to its previous wave in September 2020. If cases increase in this proportion, by April 17, we will have around 568,000 active cases,” Vyas said. The maximum number of active Covid-19 cases in September 2020 was around 300,000, as opposed to 472,283 as of Tuesday. To streamline availability of beds for needy Covid-19 patients, health minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday directed all district collectors and municipal commissioners to adopt Mumbai’s model of centralised bed allotment. “We have noticed patients struggle to find beds and approach individual hospitals to check availability. Beds will be allotted to Covid-19 patients through a centralised system at every district and municipal corporation level, so patients don’t have to run from one hospital to another,” Tope said.
In the state, 80.51% Covid-19 beds, 32.77% oxygen beds
and 60.95% ICU beds are occupied. Vyas said, “Overall the state has sufficient beds. However, some cities such as Nagpur, Aurangabad, Jalgaon, Latur and Yavatmal are facing a bed crunch. We will increase infrastructure.”
Maharashtra will start purchasing oxygen from neighbouring states in the coming days, to meet its oxygen demands for critical and serious Covid-19 patients. Maharashtra government produces 11,500 metric tonnes (MT) of oxygen per day of which about 850 MT is used per day at present, but is likely to utilise its entire stock per day within a week. Tope also announced that the government is mulling capping retail price of the drug, Remdesivir, which is sold at as high as ₹4,000 per injection at present, while manufacturers sell every unit at ₹800 to stockers. This price is likely to be capped at ₹1,200.
The state has requested the Centre to supply 4,000,000 vaccine shots to be able to meet its target of vaccinating 600,000 beneficiaries per day.