Mumbai recorded 31,106 new Covid-19 cases in one month
Between February 15 and March 15, the city has recorded 31,106 new cases of Covid-19, of which 18,903 were reported in March alone. Mumbai’s Covid growth rate shot up to 0.42% on March 15, from 0.15% reported on February 15. The doubling rate — the number of days it takes for the number of cases to double —was 165 days on March 15 compared to 455 days on February 15.
On Tuesday, Mumbai reported 1,922 new cases of Covid-19 and four deaths from the infection. The total number of cases is 3,47,597 and the Covid death toll stands at 11,543. The case fatality rate is 3.3%. There are 13,862 active cases in the city, with a recovery rate of 92%.
Experts and doctors have attributed the spike in Covid-19 cases to the public not observing precautionary measures like social distancing and wearing masks as well as patients delaying seeing a doctor in case of symptomatic Covid-19. Dr Om Shrivastav, a member of the state’s Covid-19 task force, said, “The main reasons for increase in cases is not wearing masks and not maintaining social distancing or Covid-19 hygiene, such as frequent washing of hands.” Other factors include resumption of local train services and increased testing and contact tracing.
As of March 13, an estimated 62% of Mumbai’s active Covid-19 cases are asymptomatic, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The civic body’s data shows 35% of the cases are symptomatic but stable, while 3% are critical.
In the past month, BMC has increased testing from 15,000-16,000 tests to 21,000-22,000 tests per day. As of March 15, Mumbai had conducted 35,93,065 tests, of which 19,009 tests were done conducted in the last 24 hours (until Monday evening).
The positivity rate in the city has also increased. BMC’s data shows the average positivity rate in March as 7.58%, up from February’s average of 4.54%. In January, the positivity rate was 3.98%. Positivity rate is the total number of positive cases recorded compared to the total number of tests in a fixed time period.
Dr Rahul Pandit, another member of the Covid-19 task force, said, “The high number of cases reported daily is a reflection of what is happening on-ground. The increase in the number of daily tests conducted over the past month is one of the factors why we are seeing a high number of cases.” He said the number of tests needs to increase further, and pointed out that Delhi conducts approximately 50,000 tests a day, though most of these are antigen tests and considered less reliable in comparison to reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests. In Mumbai, 75% of the tests conducted are RT-PCR tests, which are considered the gold standard for Covid diagnosis.
“If we do more tests, the positivity rate will come down. High testing numbers will help us identify the population which is at risk or has been exposed,” said Dr Pandit. Contract tracing up to 30 high-risk contacts per patient within the first 24 hours would also help reduce the number of cases, said Dr Pandit.
Mumbai had seen a spike in reported cases in September and October last year, with 59,724 cases of Covid-19 and an average positivity rate of over 15% reported in September. In October, Mumbai had 53,147 cases and an average positivity rate of 14.7%. The highest single-day caseload was recorded on October 7, 2020, with 2,848 cases. The highest daily caseload this month was on March 14, when the city recorded 1,963 new cases of Covid-19.