Covid-19 deaths in Maharashtra have risen by 30 per cent over the last fortnight, as compared to the number reported in the period of August 17-31. In the last 15 days, 5,941 deaths have been reported, compared to 4,546 between August 17 and August 31. Moreover, fatalities have risen by more than 80 and 100 per cent in two of the eight municipal corporations, according to data provided by the state health department. Officials have attributed this rise to the delay in seeking treatment, the stigma associated with contracting the infection and lack of healthcare infrastructure.
Currently, 30,833 people have succumbed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus across the state, making Maharashtra account for 37 per cent of Covid-19 deaths in India. In just 30 days, the toll rose by more than 10,000 from 20,037 on August 16. The fatality rate in the state is now 2.75 per cent.
In the last 15 days, the average daily number of deaths in the state went up to 400. The situation appears to be worsening with every passing month, as is evident from the rising daily average. In August, this number stood at 309, while in the preceding months of July, June, May and April, the numbers were 282, 187, 59 and 14.
State Surveillance Officer Dr Pradip Awate has acknowledged the fact that Covid-19 deaths have increased in rural Maharashtra, saying the virus has now migrated to the interior, with more being reported from villages. “We cannot deny the fact that Covid-19 deaths have increased by 32 per cent in the last 15 days. But if you see the weekly trend of deaths it has reduced to 1.8 per cent for the past two weeks. However, the overall Covid fatality rate is 2.75 per cent,” he said.
Nagpur Municipal Corporation has reported 813 deaths in the last 15 days, as compared to the 457 it reported between August 16 and August 31, while Akola Municipal Corporation has witnessed 186 deaths, double the number reported during the same period.
“The surge in Covid-19 cases is a result of the easing restrictions and the festival season, which caused a large number of people getting out of their houses. Besides, with the removal of restrictions on inter-district and inter-state travel, new hotspots are being reported in semi-urban and rural areas,” Dr Awate added.
According to an official from the state health department, the state seems to be moving towards herd immunity but is paying dearly for it, given the death rate. Besides, the health infrastructure in those rural areas where Covid-19 is spreading rapidly, is still too weak to deal with the situation. “We seem to be looking at herd immunity by way of natural infection and not through vaccination. In such a case, it is going to be difficult to control the situation and we have to pay a heavy price, losing a large number of people to Covid-19,” the official said.