Maha tally rises to 584,754; state wary of 2nd waveUpdated: Aug 16, 2020 01:39 IST
With 12,614 new Covid-19 infections, third-highest single-day spike, the state’s tally inched closer to the 6 lakh mark and stood at 584,754. The death toll neared 20,000, with 322 fatalities pushing it up to 19,749.
With some of the cities and districts witnessing a spike in cases after a drop in the past few weeks, state authorities are wary of a second wave in parts of it.
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has been asking authorities to keep a vigilant eye on the spread to ensure that there was no emergence of the second wave of the infection.
Experts, however, are divided, saying it can or cannot be called the beginning of the wave.
Mumbai reported 1,254 new cases and 48 deaths on Saturday, with the tally of cases reaching 127, 716 and toll 7,086.
Pune district continued to remain on top in the case and fatality chart with 2,543 cases and 73 deaths in a day. Pune City rep-orted 1,114 cases and 34 deaths, while Pune Rural saw 458 cases and 25 fatalities. Pimpri-Chinchwad, also part of Pune district, reported 971 cases and 14 deaths. The district has the highest number of active patients at 41,080.
Among the remaining fatalities, Thane district saw 25, including 18 in its rural parts, Nagpur district 19, Palghar rural 12 and Kalyan-Dombivli 11. Of the 322 fatalities reported on Saturday, 226 deaths were from the past 48 hours, 53 from past week and remaining from the period before it. The case fatality rate (CFR) of the state stood at 3.38%.
State’s recovery rate dropped below 70%, standing at 69.82%, from 70.77 on Thursday, as 6,844 more patients recovered on Saturday, taking the total number of recovered patients to 408,286. The active patients in the state are 156,409. State has 10,44,974 people under home quarantine, while 37, 524 are institutionally quarantined.
Maharashtra conducted 66,429 tests in the past 24 hours and found 12,614 positive at a positivity rate of 18.98%. In some of the districts and civic bodies like Malegaon, Solapur, Kolhapur, Jalgaon, a sudden spike in cases was witnessed after a drop for a few weeks. A few experts termed it as a second wave.
“It is a second wave, as the antibodies developed against the virus decrease and end in about four months. In some areas like Dharavi, more than 50% patients have found antibodies developed against viruses, but those may not remain for long. Rise in cases in some parts of the state is an indication of a second wave in some parts of the state,” said Neeraj Hatekar, Mumbai University economist, who has been studying the trend on a daily basis.
Dr Amol Annadate, who was closely associated with administration in Malegaon in Nashik said that the relapse of rising number of cases may be called as the next stage. “The rise in the number of cases in Malegaon and other cities that had witnessed drop in the case earlier is because of the complacency. This can be called as next stage or even second wave. There is no social distancing or other norms of self-hygiene followed, leading to a rise in cases,” he said.
Dr Shashank Joshi, member of the 11-member task force, constituted by the state for the clinical management of critical patients, said the peak is owing to the aggressive and ramped up testing in the state. “State is at its peak and there could be a modulating pattern for the next few days in infections. I would not say it is a second wave, but we should be very careful to avoid any such wave. We can arrive at a specific conclusion about the peak only if the pattern sustains for a couple of weeks,” he said.
Thackeray said on Saturday in an online interaction with an organisation of doctors that the state is planning a 500-bed hospital in Mumbai for immunology and virology research and similar hospitals in all the districts. He said that the state is also using satellite-based telemedicine technology to treat patients in remote areas of the state. He said that government authorities have been asked to not be complacent with the drop in the cases as it could lead to the second wave.
“After relaxations from the lockdown, there have been sudden spike in the cases again. US recently saw 97,000 new cases after they open schools. I do not want it to happen here. I have been telling the authorities, including in Mumbai, to keep a vigilant eye to ensure that there is no second wave in the state,” he said.
State health minister Rajesh Tope said that the rise in Covid-19 cases in rural areas was a cause for concern. “The rise in cases is because of the migrants coming back from cities like Mumbai,” he said. Tope has also warned private doctors with action if they did not come forward to offer their services.
As part of the Mission Begin Again, the state government is expected to roll out more relaxations from the ongoing lockdown curbs. Relief and rehabilitation minister Vijay Wadettiwar said in Chandrapur on Saturday that the state government was positive on allowing inter-district state transport services and a formal decision is expected to be taken next week. He said that the state government is also positive about allowing coaching classes to operate by following standard operating procedure. The minister said that the state government was also positive about resumption of local train services for Mumbai.
Wadettwiar on Saturday said, “In our meeting chaired by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and attended by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar recently, we have discussed resuming inter-district ST buses. Honourable chief minister is positive about it. We may issue a formal notification and the norms to follow including the number of passengers. The decision is expected next week. Similarly, for the convenience of students from ordinary families who do not have online education easily available, we are considering allowing operations of coaching classes. They too will have to follow the SOP on the lines of one for the gymnasium,” he said. The minister said that it is being also considered if the schools in the rural areas can be opened.
Wadettiwar had said on Friday that the state government has taken the decision of allowing gymnasiums to operate by following social-distancing norms. He said that the decision has been taken by the state government and the notification in this respect is expected to be issued in a couple of days. The announcement had come after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray and leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis demanded for reopening of gymnasiums with immediate effect.