State records highest one-day Covid toll of 895
After a significant drop in daily Covid-19 cases (48,700) on Monday, the daily caseload went up again to 66,358 on Tuesday, although authorities said the state has reached its peak and a downward trend is expected soon. The state, however, reported its highest one-day spike in deaths of 895, which took the toll to 66,179. The state cabinet is likely to take a decision on extending the existing lockdown, which is till May 1, further. The state has also sought an expression of interest from global supplies for oxygen, Remdesivir and oxygen concentrators.
Mumbai continued to see a drop in cases on the second day in a row, logging 3,999 cases, although the testing was lower at a little over 30,000. The city has reported less than 4,000 cases over last two days, after clocking more than 5,000 cases continuously for more than a month since March 24, when it reported 5,190 cases. The city’s case tally stands at 635,483 and toll at 12,920.
“The drop in state’s cases on Monday was a ‘weekend effect’, as the number of cases and their reporting goes down on weekends. They went up on Tuesday, but have not crossed the average mark of daily caseload, which has been hovering around 66,000. We can easily say the Covid-19 case trend has stabilised,” a health department official said.
Nashik outstripped other districts in daily caseload, reporting 12,436 cases and 69 deaths on Tuesday. Pune district logged 9,078 cases and 80 deaths, 6,895 cases and 63 deaths in Nagpur, 1,840 cases and 8 deaths in Chandrapur and 1,562 cases and 18 deaths in Sangli. Aurangabad district added highest 162 deaths on Tuesday, although the new cases logged were 1,468.
The state has 672,434 active cases as on Tuesday, down from 699,858 on April 22. Pune has highest active patients (104,561), followed by Nagpur (75,219), Thane (72,302) and Mumbai (68,603).
Amid the rise, the state is expected to extend the ongoing complete lockdown at least by a week. “Task force members, officials from health and other departments are of the opinion that it should be extended at least by a week. They feel it would help in reducing the cases and relieving the stress on health infrastructure. The decision is expected to be taken in state cabinet on Wednesday,” an official from Mantralaya said.
State health authorities say that the districts like Nashik, Nagpur and Ahmednagar will follow the trend witnessed in Mumbai, MMR and Pune and stabilise in the next few days. The high number of deaths is expected to continue for the next few days. “The rise in the death number is always seen a couple of weeks after the spike in the cases begin,” said an official from the health department.
Maharashtra public health minister Rajesh Tope said they expect the cases to decline in coming days. “From daily caseload hovering around 65,000, it dropped to 48,700 on Monday. The number of patients discharged was more than the new cases. It has resulted in the improvement in the recovery rate from 81% to 83.5%,” he said.
Dr Lancelot Pinto, an epidemiologist from Hinduja Hospital, said the lockdown has helped in bringing down the cases and the trend is likely to continue. “Maharashtra is witnessing the downward trend early than that anticipated at national level, because the second wave hit Mumbai and Maharashtra first. Similar trend was witnessed during the first wave too. We can avoid the spikes in cases by adapting mass vaccination drive. However, the mortality rate is expected to continue for a week or two as it always lag behind the cases by 2-3 weeks,” he said.
Prof Manindra Agarwal who was associated with the Covid-19 research in IIT Kanpur said that Mumbai is past its peak. While Pune and even state has reached its peak, Nagpur will reach its peak in next two days. “Pune and Maharashtra saw erratic trend of cases with ups and down, but it was very steady curve for Mumbai. Cities like Nashik and Nagpur are still reporting high cases, but they will reach their peak in couple of days,” he said.
Tope said that the state government has called for supply from international market for 25000 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen, 10 lakh vials of Remdesivir, 40,000 oxygen concentrators and oxygen tanks for the districts. “The expression of interest has been called for by relaxing stringent conditions. We expect the response in three days. The procurement will help tide over the shortage of oxygen and Remdesivir and ramp up the health infrastructure,” he said.
The test positivity rate (TPR) too has declined over the last one week to 23.51% despite the significant rise in the tests at the daily average of 2,73,283 between April 21 and 27. Against 1913001 tests during this period, the state reported 449726 cases. The positivity rate in the earlier two weeks (April 14-20 and April 7-13) was 24.76% and 24.71% respectively.
The daily testings in the state have been stepped up gradually from 2,34,652 during April 7-13 to 2,54,526 during April 14-20 and 2,73,283 in the week ended on Tuesday.