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Maha records over 100 Covid deaths in a day; tally 56,948

By Faisal Malik & Swapnil Rawal, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAY 28, 2020 12:15 AM IST

Maharashtra on Wednesday recorded 2,190 Covid-19 cases and in a grim first, more than 100 virus deaths in a day. The state’s toll went up to 1,897 with 105 fatalities, while the case tally stands at 56,948.

Of the cases, 37,125 are active ones, which come to 65.19% of the total, according to the state health department.

However, even as cases continued to increase, the state government is planning to give further relaxations from June 1. It is likely to adopt a “trial-and-error-method” to deal with the situation as the number of cases have started rising in the districts with fewer cases after travel restrictions were relaxed. It is also deliberating on what to do in the red zones. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray hinted that further relaxations could be given, but it could be done on a “trial” basis to gauge the response of the people.

The state has recorded its highest single-day figure for deaths on two consecutive days. It had recorded 97 fatalities on Tuesday.

Of Wednesday’s deaths, 32 were in Mumbai, 16 in Thane, 10 in Jalgaon, nine in Pune, seven each in Navi Mumbai and Raigad, six in Akola, four in Aurangabad, three each in Nashik and Solapur, two in Satara and one each in Virar, Panvel, Ahmednagar, Nagpur and Nandurbar. Also, a patient from Gujarat died in Mumbai.

Of the deaths, 50 were above 60 years of age, while 45 were in the age group of 40 to 59 years and the remaining 10 were below the age of 40 years. Of the deceased, 66 had high-risk co-morbidities, including diabetes, hypertension and heart ailments, health officials said.

The state has also recorded over 2,000 new infections for the tenth day in a row since May 17. On May 24, it had reported 3,041 cases. Meanwhile, Mumbai also reported 1,044 new cases on Wednesday.

With this, the tally of the city has reached 34,018 cases. Of them, 24,507 are active cases. On May 22, Mumbai had reported 1,751 cases — its highest one-day figure.

Thackeray, who held a meeting with divisional commissioners, district collectors and municipal commissioners, took a cautious approach with regard to lifting the lockdown as according to him, it would not be correct to lift it in one go.

Thackeray told district officials to tighten measures as cases in districts that did not have any new patients have started reporting them after travel relaxations were provided. Thackeray said that while the state is reviving the economy, following up on measures to combat Covid-19 should be done with additional seriousness.

“We are gradually lifting relaxation and it would not be correct to lift it in one go. Despite taking precautions, the patient count has increased due to people who were allowed to travel… while relaxing the lockdown it should be done on a trial basis. The people should have a clear idea of which services have been reopened. It should be made clear that if the rules and conditions are not followed, there would be a need to reintroduce the lockdown,” a note from the CMO stated.

The state also completed 65 days of lockdown that was imposed from midnight of March 23, a day before the nationwide lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was partially lifted on April 20 in the areas where there are no cases or have minimal cases.

Water resources minister Jayannt Patil also said that they are considering to give more relaxations in areas that are outside red zones.

“We will be reviewing the situation by May 29 or 30. The state will also have to consider the decision taken by the Central government on lockdown. Only after that a decision can be taken. However, the state government may give more relaxations in areas where there are no Covid-19 patients (non-red zones) except red zones,” he said.

The state government is also expecting a surge in cases as lockdown curbs are lifted after May 31, the last day of lockdown 4.0. Chief secretary Ajoy Mehta on Tuesday has stated that while the state expects cases to surge after lockdown curbs are lifted, the government is planning “graded relaxations”. “There will be a surge in positive cases after relaxations are given. We are planning to ease restrictions in phases and in a calibrated manner to avoid a sudden surge. The lifting of curbs will be announced in stages. Health infrastructure is being ramped up to ensure that cases can be handled effectively,” said Mehta.

“The lifting of the lockdown policy has been well thought through… The relaxations will be announced in advance to avoid panic,” he added.

Though the past two days saw a decline in cases, data shows that the state is still getting over 2,000 since the past ten days, except on May 24.

On May 17, there were 2,347 cases. May 18 had 2,033 new infections, May 19 had 2,127, May 20 saw 2,250, May 21 had 2,345, May 22 saw 2,940 and on May 23 there were 2,608 cases. 2,436 and 2,091 cases were reported on May 25 and May 26 respectively. While on May 24, it reported 3041 cases.

In May, the state has recorded over 46,616 cases, which means around 81.85% of the total 56,948 cases have been reported in this month alone.

Except the last two days, the trend shows that the fresh cases of Covid-19 were soaring to a new level after every 10 to 15 days. For instance, between April 19 and 30, the fresh cases were in a range of 500 per day, but from May 1 it started rising and from May 6 to 16, the fresh cases were in the range of 1,000-2,000. From May 17, it again crossed the 2,000 mark and since the past 11 days, new cases are in a range of 2,000-3,000 cases per day.

In the past 22 days, the state has recorded 38,589 cases, which means on an average, it is getting over 1,700 fresh cases daily.

In May (past 27 days) alone, the state has reported as many as 46,616 cases whereas the total number of cases registered in April was 10,201.

The first case of coronavirus was reported on March 9 and it took 30 days for the state to cross the 1,000 mark. For the first 10,000 cases, it took 53 days.

The water resources minister also said the state has handled the situation very well and in Mumbai, it is likely to come under control in the next 15 days.

“We have handled the situation very well. The Centre’s team (that was in Mumbai in April) had predicted that by May-end, the state would be having around 1.25 lakh cases. But the state could manage to control it and by the end of this month, it is likely to reach 60,000. This is due to proper planning and effective management done by the state,” Patil said on Wednesday.

Coming on to the fact that Mumbai has 34,018 cases, he said that no city in the country can be compared with Mumbai as it is so densely populated. “The density here is 73,000 people per square mile. Now, only dense population areas are experiencing a rise in cases, but in the next 15-20 days, we will be able to control the situation in a better way, the water resources minister said a press conference.

The mortality rate of the state has come down to 3.27% (1792 deaths) on Tuesday, from 7.41% (148 cases) on April 13. However, it continued to be higher than the national mortality rate of 2.86% (4,337 deaths) till Tuesday, stated the data of the state medical education department.

However, 1,438 deaths were also recorded in this month.

Patil said they also audit every Covid-19 death. “We have independent teams in Mumbai, Pune and a separate team for the rest of the state to audit the reason behind each and every death. We laid a clinical management team of specialist with the help of which, we will able to decline the mortality rate,” he said.

Health department officials said the doubling rate of cases has increased to 14.7 days. It was 11.5 days till last week.

The number of recoveries in the state has also jumped to 17,918 as 964 patients recovered on Wednesday. The recovery rate is 31.5%, said a health official

The health department also declared to have conducted 4,03,976 tests at various public and private facilities across Maharashtra. Of them, 3,47,028 people tested negative. It is 12.4% of the total tests conducted across the country — 32,42,160 — said an official.

State currently has 2,684 active containment zones. A total of 17,119 survey teams, comprising doctors and assisting staff, have screened more than 68.06 lakh people.

So far, 37,761 people have been kept in institutional quarantine in the state and over 5,82,701 people have been put under home quarantine.

Of the state’s 36 districts, Gadchiroli was the only one that was not having a single case till May 18. However, some migrant workers, who returned to the district from Mumbai, tested positive and now the cases there have increased to 25 from five cases.

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