A health worker takes a swab sample of a resident in Mankhurd on Tuesday.(Satish Bate/HT Photo)
A health worker takes a swab sample of a resident in Mankhurd on Tuesday.(Satish Bate/HT Photo)

Maharashtra sees under 3,000 Covid-19 cases for third day in a row

The state’s tally touched 1,752,509, while the state’s active cases stood at 81,925
By Swapnil Rawal | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON NOV 18, 2020 12:45 AM IST

Maharashtra for the third consecutive day reported below 3,000 fresh Covid-19 cases, with 2,840 new infections on Tuesday. The state’s tally touched 1,752,509, while the state’s active cases stood at 81,925. It also reported below 100 fatalities for a third day in a row with 68 fatalities to push up the state’s toll to 46,102.

Of the deaths reported on Tuesday, 51 occurred within the past 48 hours, while 12 deaths were from the past week. The remaining five fatalities were from the period before last week, the state health department said.

Mumbai, meanwhile, reported 541 new cases, taking its tally to 270,660. It reported 14 deaths, pushing the city’s toll to 10,599. The active caseload in the city, which was one of the hotspots of coronavirus, went under 5% at 12,365.

The state is currently experiencing a downward trend in the Covid-19 curve for more than four weeks now. In November, so far, the number of cases and fatalities have witnessed more than 60% and 50% drop, respectively, in comparison to October.

Also read: Despite dip in daily Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra, Mumbai Metropolitan Region’s share stays same

Between November 1 and 16, Maharashtra saw 71,371 cases, which is a 62.75% drop from the same period in October, when it recorded 191,616 cases. A considerable drop has been seen in the fatalities as well. Between November 1 and 16, a total of 2,123 fatalities were reported, which is a 56.13% drop from the same period in October.

However, health experts have predicted a second wave of Covid -19 by December-end. Owing to an increased movement of people during the festive season and the lack of adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour, there is a fear of a second wave. The state public health department has already issued an advisory to district and municipal authorities to prepare for a wave in January-February 2021.

“We are continuing to see a decline in figures. The curve has stabilised for four to five weeks now, which is a good sign. The next two to three weeks will be crucial for Maharashtra’s Covid battle. If the curve remains stabilised, then it will be reassuring,” said a senior official, requesting anonymity.

The second wave, if it hits the state, is not likely to be as big as the first wave the state saw.

A health department official said, “The state’s peak was in September where it reported nearly 25,000 cases in a day. The second wave may not be that big. However, we have directed authorities to prepare for a bigger surge as we do not want to be caught off-guard.”

Another worrying area for the state government has been the case fatality rate (CFR). Even though the absolute number of deaths being reported is lower than earlier, the CFR has remained constant around 2.63%.

A Covid-19 task force member, who did not want to be named, said, “The number of deaths has reduced due to intervention programmes of the state government.

“My Family, My Responsibility” has helped identify thousands of people with co-morbidities. Another reason for high death count is also the mandatory screening at hospitals for any admission.

For instance, if a person gets admitted due to a head injury, Covid test is performed, and if he dies, then it is counted as Covid death.”

Meanwhile, 5,123 people were discharged on Tuesday taking the tally of recovered patients to 1,623,503.

The recovery rate of the state improved to 92.64%. So far, the state has tested 9,847,478 samples and has a positivity rate of 17.8% for Covid-19. Currently, 791,120 people are in home quarantine and 5,367 people are in institutional quarantine.

Chhath Puja restrictions

Citing speculation over a second wave of Covid-19 in the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has prohibited performing Chhath Puja at beaches, riverside and lakes.

Devotees wanting to perform Chhath Puja will now have to set up artificial ponds and should ensure scrapping of the ponds too.

A circular regarding this issued by the civic body on Tuesday stated that strict masking, no crowding by devotees and social distancing will be ensured by the police deployed around artificial ponds.

As per the circular, the permissions to perform Chhath Puja will be given at the ward level.

All 24 administrative wards will ensure that a medical team is set up near the artificial ponds to conduct Covid tests through antigen or RT-PCR kits of devotees. Moreover, the police will also be deployed at places that have been prohibited for performing the rituals to avoid gathering of devotees.

The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders protested against the restrictions by BMC, alleging that they are discriminatory in nature.

Vinod Mishra, BJP leader in the BMC, said, “Immersion of Ganesh idols were allowed at beaches and lakes this year. The Covid situation during that period was grave and now when it has improved, the civic body is imposing more restrictions. These guidelines are discriminatory and we condemn it.”

(with inputs from Sagar Pillai)

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