Maharashtra: Covid growth still high in 6 districts
Maharashtra on Wednesday added 10,989 Covid-19 cases, taking tally to 5,863,880. The state added 661 deaths, including 400 reconciled, pushing toll to 101,833. Mumbai, meanwhile, continued to record less than 1,000 cases for the ninth consecutive day with 785 new cases and 27 fatalities.
Even as Maharashtra is witnessing a downward curve for the past few weeks, districts in Konkan and western Maharashtra still report a chunk of daily cases. Six districts — Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara and Pune — contribute over 50% of state’s daily cases. Experts and health department officials said the viral activity works in a differential manner and the areas showing higher number of cases will eventually come down.
According to the data, rural and urban areas from the six districts contributed over 50% of the state’s total cases. Since June 6, these six districts added 23,138 cases, which was 51.81% of the state’s total cases during this period. On Wednesday, Ratnagiri (536), Sindhudurg (540), Pune (1,368), Satara (845), Kolhapur (1,467) and Sangli (984) districts added 5,740 of the 10,989 new cases, which is 52.23%.
Dr Subhash Salunkhe, former director-general of health services (Maharashtra) and advisor to the state government on Covid-19, said the pandemic does not behave in the same manner across geography.
“Maharashtra is as big as any European country, so we expect the districts will show a differential and it is being demonstrated. In western Maharashtra, particularly Kolhapur, Satara, Sangli, and Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in the Konkan region, are not showing a distinct decline that we are seeing in other parts of the state. Such things occur wherever there is a delay in introduction of virus. When Mumbai and Pune were on the peak, these districts were at a better stage, comparatively. The urban areas are recovering faster than the rural areas as the infection gets introduced a bit later, therefore more cases are seen from rural areas,” he said.
He added that when there was hectic viral activity in Amravati, Akola and Nagpur in February-end to March, Pune, Mumbai and other parts did not have many cases at that time. “Now those [Vidarbha] districts are on a downward trend. But Pune district is still high,” Dr Salunkhe added.
Salunkhe added that the overall downward trend should not make the administration and the state government lax. He added that the state still needs to move “cautiously” in opening up activities. The state has fixed parameters including positivity rate and occupancy of oxygen beds to allow the level of unlocking in districts and municipal areas. A review will be taken on Thursday for districts that could see unlocking or imposition of restrictions for the next week.
“I am not happy with the things happening in Maharashtra. Let us not be fooled by the declining curve. Pandemic are well known to fool the people through downward curve. It does not guarantee that it won’t turn upward. I am regularly warning the government about it… I am worried about the unlocking. I have spoken to the health minister; I will speak to the chief minister (CM) and deputy CM on Friday,” Salunkhe said.
A senior health department official said the state has not allowed blanket lifting of restrictions. “One cannot shut all activities permanently. As the viral activity is fluid, the state has adopted a dynamic way to allow or disallow activities in a district or city area. If a particular district or city shows higher positivity rate or increase in oxygen bed occupancy, the restrictions will be made tighter,” the official said requesting anonymity.
CM Uddhav Thackeray and his cabinet colleagues will be given a presentation on the weekly Covid situation in the state in the cabinet meeting scheduled to be held on Thursday.