There has been an 18 percent drop in the number of COVID-19 patients being recovered and discharged from various hospitals across Maharashtra in the past one month. According to the statistics, as many as 5,14,763 patients were discharged between September 1 and 30 which dropped to 4,22,031 being discharged between October 1 and 31.
Officials and health experts attributed this drop to the more number of positive cases being reported as compared to patients being discharged in October. However, experts have also warned of the need to prepare for a "second wave" which could occur during the December 2020-January 2021 period.
According to the data provided by the civic health department, on an average 13,600 patients were discharged per day in the last month as compared to 17,100 in September. Meanwhile, the overall recovery rate of Maharashtra has touched 90 percent and the pandemic fatality rate has been constant at 2.62 percent for the last one month.
Maharashtra’s first peak came in mid-September when the daily case count crossed 24,000. On September 5, the state went past the 20,000 marks in daily cases, and on September 11, the public health department reported 24,886 cases, the highest for any state in India. The cases started to decline after a fortnight, and on September 24 onwards, they fell below 20,000, and have continued to decline ever since.
On Sunday (October 25), as many as 6,059 cases were reported in the state, and the following day the number of new cases was just 3,645. On October 27, 5,653 new cases were reported.
Senior health officials said the numbers of recovered patients have reduced due to more number of cases reported since mid-September until October 20. But since the last two weeks, COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra have dropped below 10,000.
“We have an overall recovery rate of 90 percent, but in October the number of cases and recovered patients were almost similar due to which there is an 18 percent drop in recovered patients compared to September,” he said.
Similarly, Maharashtra is expecting a renewed emergence of COVID-19 cases post Diwali festivities this winter. But interestingly, experts have predicted that this second wave in the city and state will be less severe than the first one, with a smaller number of cases and deaths likely to be reported.
Health experts warned that people should not take these as likely scenarios and must stop roaming around without reason and should not take preventive measures lightly. The senior health expert said on condition of anonymity, “Everyone should remember that while the number of cases may be less, it will keep on rising till the vaccine is available for the public. Only two methods help end the virus — when everyone gets vaccinated, or everyone gets infected and treated. The number of cases in the second wave is likely to be more in rural parts of Pune district. This surge is expected in December and January.”
Some steps are also being taken at this stage. Public health expert Dr Subhash Salunkhe, who chairs the Maharashtra Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Technical Committee, said an expert panel has drafted a strategy to prevent the second COVID-19 wave and will be submitting its recommendations on next Saturday to the state government, director of health services and Pune divisional commissioner.
“As per this strategy, it has been recommended that cases of fever and flu-like symptoms be monitored in all private hospitals, similar to when the swine flu outbreak took place in 2009; a report will have to be submitted by these hospitals to the local body, either daily or weekly. Moreover, the number of tests for COVID-19 should not decrease in any situation, and surveillance of daily COVID screenings should be continued by local bodies,” he said.