Coronavirus in Mumbai: Positivity rate declines by 4%; no chance of second wave, say civic officials

There is some negativity which should positively ease the minds of Mumbaikars consumed with anxiety about being in the midst of a 'second wave', given the increasing number of corona cases each day.The silver lining is that the positivity rate has dipped by almost four per cent from August 25 to September 9. Civic officials have attributed this reduction to increased testing and have scotched speculation of a second wave being responsible for the surge in cases.

Positivity rate stands for the percentage of people who test positive for the virus, as against the overall tally of those tested.

According to data analysed by The Free Press Journal, based on information from the BMC dashboard, of the total 77,667 tests conducted during August 10-24, 14,529 individuals were diagnosed Covid-positive, while in the last 15 days, 20,580 of the total 1,40,911 people tested positive. “The positivity rate was 18.70 per cent from August 10 to 24, which has come down to 14.60 per cent in the following fortnight. It means there is no chance of a second wave,” said a health official.

Currently, Mumbai’s positivity rate stands at 18.76 per cent. Till September 9, 1,60,744 of the 8,56,454 people who underwent testing were found positive.

Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said that testing had been ramped up in accordance with a decision taken in the last week of August, resulting in more cases being detected. There are around 9,000-10,000 tests being conducted every day since September 1, he informed.

“We have increased Covid-19 testing by 50 per cent. Until August 24, we were averaging around 5,500 tests in the city. But now, this number is almost 9,500. On September 8, it touched 12,763, excluding rapid tests,” he said.

Kakani further said, the increase in the number of cases did not indicate a second wave. “We can see the graph is rising but, on the other hand, the positivity rate is decreasing, which is a good sign for Mumbai,” he added.

Meanwhile, civic chief Iqbal Singh Chahal has appealed to citizens to refrain from panicking. He said, “The strategy of the BMC to substantially ramp up tests, from an average of 7,619 tests daily in August to 10,000-14,000 tests every day in September, has resulted in an increase in the average number of positive cases, from 1,000-1,300 to 1,700-2,000 daily. By effectively utilising the large number of vacant Covid beds available in the city of Mumbai, we can help arrest the spread of the virus. Therefore, it is humbly submitted, there should be no panic over the sudden increase in the number of positive cases in Mumbai.”

Health experts have pointed out that despite increasing the number of daily tests, the city is far behind Bengaluru and Delhi in this regard. Bengaluru has tested close to 11 lakh people, while in Delhi around 18 lakh people have undergone testing.

“The number of tests is directly proportional to the number of positive cases. So, the more we test, the more cases will emerge. This might create panic among people but it will help break the chain of infection. In fact, the civic body should have increased their testing much earlier, considering that at 2 crore, Mumbai is the most populous city,” said a public health expert.

August 10 to August 24

Total testing Total cases Positivity rate

77,667 14,529 18.7%

August 25 to September 8

Total testing Total cases Positivity rate

1,40,911 20,580 14.6%

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Free Press Journal