Coronavirus in Maharashtra: Death rate crept up by 23% in July; Recovery rates were a robust 62%
Graphic by Dr Subhasree Ray

While the Covid recovery rate in the state is a healthy 62 per cent (2,76,809 people have recovered so far) and the fatality rate is below 4 per cent, there has been a 23 per cent rise in the number of deaths in July. State officials and doctors attribute this rise to delay in treatment, comorbidities and other factors. Health experts say the state government needs to create more awareness about corona in rural areas, so that the stigma surrounding the infection is eradicated and people come forward if they show symptoms and obtain timely treatment.

Clinical and Public Health Nutritionist Dr Subhasree Ray said, there are many factors causing the increase in daily deaths, such as the movement of migrants from the city to rural areas, lack of awareness among the rural population on the prevention and symptoms, thus delaying early testing and missing the window of opportunity to avail of early treatment. “The other possible reason could be stigma and fear of being tagged as 'Covid-19' positive, which restrains people from getting tested, even though they have symptoms. The state government should create more awareness in areas where cases and deaths are highest,” she said.

So far,15,316 people have lost their lives to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with 6,857 of these deaths occurring in July, well over the 5,569 recorded in June. “On at least 21 days in July, more than 200 deaths were reported across the state. Daily, there were at least 221 patients succumbing to the virus on average in July, as compared to 186 in June,” said an official.

In just 22 days, there were 5,000 deaths recorded in Maharashtra, pushing the toll past the 15,000-mark, whereas the first 5,000 deaths were reported 93 days after the outbreak of the pandemic. The current Covid fatality rate (CFR) is 3.55 per cent, less than the national CFR, which is 2.13 per cent. However, Mumbai still has the highest CFR, at 5.67 per cent. “The government is focusing on reducing the CFR but daily deaths are increasing. They should come with more strategies to control deaths and cases,” said a member of the state task force.

Of the 15,316 deaths, 9,766 deaths are from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), followed by Pune (2,830), Nashik (1,215), Aurangabad (611), Akola (260), Kolhapur (255), Latur (245), Nagpur (85) and 49 deaths were of people from other states.

“Seventy per cent of all patients who succumbed to coronavirus had comorbidities and in most cases, it has been noted that patients above 50 years of age have comorbid health conditions and low immunity. It has also been noted that oxygen levels of such patients may suddenly drop below normal and lead to hypoxia, causing death,” said a senior official from the state health department.

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