There was a significant drop in the number of daily cases in Mumbai on Monday, at 3,826 new infections and 70 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total count to 6,31,527, with 12,853 fatalities. It is the lowest single-day count reported in the city since March 30 this year.
In the state too, there was a drop in the number of new cases in the last 24 hours, with 48,700 new infections and 524 covid deaths being reported on Monday. With this, the cumulative tally in the state is 43,43,727, with 65,284 fatalities till now. Health officials have attributed this drop to reduced Covid testing across Maharashtra.
In the last 24 hours, the state had only conducted 2.22 lakh tests, as compared to the 2.89 lakh tests on April 25. In the city too, there were only 28,328 tests, as compared to 40,298 on the day before -- an almost 30 per cent drop in testing in the last 24 hours.
The recovery rate in the city has increased to 87 per cent, with 9,150 patients having recovered on Monday, increasing the total number of recoveries to 5,46,861 so far. The doubling rate has also increased to 62 days, and the weekly growth rate has reduced to 1.09 per cent.
However, there has been a 15 per cent reduction in testing in the last 10 days. According to the data provided by the civic health department, 4,20,310 people were tested between April 17-26, as compared to the 4,97,817 tests in the preceding ten days, April 7-16. Civic officials have, however, maintained that there has been an actual drop in daily cases and this is not related to a fall in testing. They said that daily testing had not been reduced much. But health experts have questioned whether the reduction in tests is a ploy to manipulate the Covid-19 numbers.
Going by the official daily numbers, the average number of tests conducted between April 7-16 was 49,781, which was reduced to 42,031 between April 16-26. In the last four days, the number of tests has not exceeded 40,000.
Senior health officials from the civic health department said there had been no reduction in testing, with more than 40,000 tests having been conducted in April. However, the number of cases have reduced, what with fewer cases being reported and reduced contact tracing. “It would be wrong to say cases have reduced because of decrease in Covid-19 testing. Currently, cases are going down, which means plateauing has begun,” he said.
However, some health experts claim that the civic body is manipulating the Covid numbers. The data shared by the civic body clearly shows reduced testing, which has also led to a drop in cases for the last five days. “BMC needs to be more transparent with the Covid data, as there are many mismatches in their data. Everyone knows the situation is out of control in Mumbai as many are still waiting for beds, Remdesivir injections, but by showing fewer numbers the civic body wants to spread the message that they have managed to curb cases,” said a doctor from a civic hospital, on condition of anonymity.
Abhijeet More, co-convener, Jan Arogya Abhiyaan, said that reduction in testing was one of the factors for the drop in the cases. It was no miracle that cases had suddenly dropped from 9,000, to below 4,000. BMC needs to increased tests to diagnose those patients who are silent carriers of virus, he felt. “There is a possibility that cases will increase in the next three to four days, as we don’t see the graph going down. Covid testing has reduced in the city because of the current restrictions, as most people are not getting tested because they fear being isolated on testing positive,” More said.
Dr Shashank Joshi, member of the state’s Covid-19 taskforce said the weekly Covid curve was flattening and the test positivity rate had fallen to 18 percent. However cases had reduced due to the strict restrictions and citizens adhering to Covid norms. However, he cautioned, the next two weeks would be crucial.
“We are definitely showing some signs of plateauing in terms of test positivity rate. From 28 per cent, we have dropped to 18 per cent, but have been stuck at 18 per cent for the last 3-4 days. But the testing infrastructure is severely crunched. Our testing facilities of RT-PCR are fully stretched to the max. The weekly average is showing a flatter curve and if this flatter curve starts bending this week, then we could see that we are at the peak and are bending the curve,” he said.
April 23- 41,827
April 24- 29,584
April 25- 40,298
April 26- 28,328