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Pune dist accounts for 9.41% of India’s new Covid cases

PUNE A year after Pune reported Maharashtra’s first Covid-19 case, the virus is back to haunt the district
By Steffy Thevar
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 09:22 PM IST

PUNE A year after Pune reported Maharashtra’s first Covid-19 case, the virus is back to haunt the district. After a downward graph since October 2020, Pune district’s virus tally is surging upward faster than the first wave.

In the past week, the country has reported 98,558 new cases out of which 9.41 per cent or 9,278 new cases have been reported from the Pune district.

On Sunday (March 7) the country reported 18,754 new virus cases while the district reported 1,925 new cases, so for every ten new cases reported in the country, one is from Pune.

As of March 6, Maharashtra accounts for 54.31% of the total new cases reported in the country, while Pune accounts for 10.26 per cent of the new cases.

Pune district also has the highest number of active cases in the country with 19, 615 cases, followed by Nagpur with 11,480 cases, Thane with 10,044 active cases, Mumbai with 8,984 cases and Ernakulam with 7,212 active cases.

Of the top five districts with the most active cases, Covid-infected people undergoing treatment in hospitals or in-home isolation, in the country, four are from Maharashtra.

The sudden surge in the number of positive cases could be because of the super spreader events and careless behaviour of the people and not because of possible mutations, say officials.

Dr Subhash Salunkhe, who chairs the Maharashtra Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Technical Committee, said, “As per the discussion with National Institute of Virology (NIV) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) there have been no worrisome mutations in the samples being tested from the district. The reason for the spread could be the super spreader events like reopening of schools and colleges, rural elections and such events could have caused the spike.”

“As per our understanding as of now the reason for the spike in the district is because of the careless behaviour and also because the administration has massively increased testing which is why more cases are being detected. In a pandemic situation or in case of an outbreak, ups and lows are normal. The fact remains that this surge is not unusual,” he said.

Rajesh Deshmukh, Pune district collector, said, “We are testing more compared to any city and so we are seeing more cases. We have increased testing from 4,000 earlier to 13,000 now, but the positivity rate has also gone up. One sign of relief is that the mortality rate has not gone up as much as the number of cases. According to health experts, the newer cases are milder cases of infection. At least 80-90 per cent of the new cases are asymptomatic and they are contacts of positive patients.”

“As per the standard operating procedure (SOP), we are taking action against those not wearing masks. Also, we have certain restrictions already in place like the schools are shut and also night movement is restricted,” he said.

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