December saw fewest Covid-19 cases in Mumbai since April
After witnessing two sharp surges last year, December saw the lowest number of Covid-19 cases and deaths since April in the city. In end-December, Mumbai’s recovery rate was 93% and the Covid growth rate was 0.21%.
Statistics released by the state health department show December 2020 recorded a drop of 60% and 84% compared to the number of Covid-19 cases in November and September respectively. Compared to May last year, December’s caseload dropped by about 70%. According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), active cases in Mumbai have been below 10,000 since December 15.
Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner and in-charge of BMC’s public health department, said, “BMC had expected yet another surge in cases in November and December, owing to the festival season, but that did not happen.”
December recorded 9,245 cases of Covid-19 and 223 deaths. This is significantly less than the figures for November (25,062 cases; 566 deaths), October (49,877 cases; 1,281 deaths), September (58,321 cases; 1,236 deaths), August (30,474 cases; 1,260 deaths), July (35,139 cases; 1,722 deaths), June (36,559 cases, 3,237 deaths) and May (31,874 cases; 984 deaths). Lower caseloads were recorded in April (5,917 cases; 109 deaths) and March (151 cases; 7 deaths) last year.
The surge in cases in September-October 2020 has been attributed to lifting restrictions on public movement.
BMC also scaled up the number of daily tests to 14,000 in September 2020, when the positivity rate was high (between 17% and 25%). The number of tests dropped to 11,000 a day in November 2020 and the positivity rate fell to a range of 5-10%. The positivity rate remained at 5% and lower in December 2020 despite BMC increasing testing to 25,000 tests a day.
Dr Om Shrivastav, a city-based doctor working with the Maharashtra government’s Covid-19 task force, said, “The Covid graph worldwide goes through peaks and troughs. In December, Mumbai witnessed its trough. It is too early to comment on whether herd immunity contributed to the decrease in Covid-19 cases. However, it is notable that despite unlock plans, the number of cases in the city have been under control and declining.”
The case fatality rate (CFR) for Covid-19 has also dropped from over 9.5% in March 2020 to between 2.1% and 2.5% between September and December 2020. BMC reconciled 862 deaths (from April-May) and 751 deaths (from May-June) in June and July respectively. Following this, Kakani ordered his department to plot the deaths that were reported late, noting the dates on which they’d occurred. This exercise showed May ( 2,269) had the highest number of Covid-19 deaths, followed by June (1,922) and July (1,773).
BMC has attributed the improvement in CFR to interventions such as the Mission Save Lives and greater awareness regarding testing among Mumbaiites.