Mumbai: It was another day of dubious distinctions for Maharashtra and Mumbai on Wednesday. In the last 24 hours, 3,245 new corona cases and 149 deaths were reported, the highest number of single-day cases and deaths reported so far. With this, the state toll is 94,041, including 3,438 deaths until now. The previous highest single-day cases and deaths were reported on May 24 and June 5, respectively. Similarly, the highest number of single-day deaths were recorded in Mumbai on Wednesday, with 97 Covid patients succumbing to the infection, taking the total death toll to 1,857 so far.
The previous highest number of single-day deaths in the city was 64, on June 8. Ninety-seven of the 149 deaths were reported in Mumbai, followed by 15 in Thane, 10 in Pune, seven in Aurangabad, five in Jalgaon and Nashik, three in Ulhasnagar, two each in Vasai-Virar and Akola and one each in Beed, Gadchiroli and Amravati.
“Sixty-six of the 149 deaths in the state occurred in the last two days, while the remaining 83 were recorded between April 18 and June 6; these were added to the state’s toll only now, after review. According to the health department, in 70 per cent of the cases, the victims had co-morbidities,” said State Surveillance Officer Dr Pradip Awate. When The Free Press Journal asked Dr Awate whether it was the lockdown relaxation which had led to a rise in the number of cases across the state, he said, “It is too early to comment on this, as there are many aspects which need to be analysed. We have also increased the number of laboratories, to increase testing capacity, which could also be one of the reasons for such an increase.”
According to the public health department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the city recorded 1,567 new cases, taking the total positive count to 52,667 cases, with 1,857 deaths so far. Dr Shashank Joshi, endocrinologist and a member of the state's Covid Task Force, also said there could be multiple factors behind the increase in numbers and also attributed it to a delay in seeking care. “We need to see whether positive patients who are under home supervision are being monitored properly between 7 and 14 days, because that’s when the oxygen saturation drops and they could experience 'happy hypoxia',” he said.
Happy or silent hypoxia is a state where the body’s oxygen levels are well below 90 per cent, yet a person can breathe normally. Patients are unaware their bodies are deprived of oxygen and though they should be gasping for air, they appear to be perfectly normal and comfortable. This condition can eventually lead to shortness of breath, but at this point, their lungs are considerably damaged, further stressing a body trying to battle the virus. Civic authorities, however, said the rise was not alarming. “A majority of the patients have co-morbid conditions and yet, delay seeking treatment,” said Additional Civic Commissioner Suresh Kakani. He, however, added, so far, they have had no instance where the condition of a patient under home isolation has deteriorated.
However, Kakani added, the death committee would look into the matter. Health experts have expressed concern over further relaxations in red zones, warning that the state is concerned about an increase in cases as the infection curve has not flattened so far. They are also worried about a second wave following more relaxations, as seen in countries like China and South Korea. “The scenes from the last two days of crowded buses and Marine Drive are a cause for concern. We have to closely monitor the rise in cases after the relaxations,” said an expert.