COVID-19 in Maharashtra: State on alert for surge between December 26 and January 26

For the twelfth consecutive day, Maharashtra reported less than 4,000 COVID-19 cases on Monday. 2,498 new cases and 50 fatalities were recorded in the last 24 hours, pushing its respective tallies to 19,22,048 and 49,305 so far. Mumbai, meanwhile, recorded 558 new cases and 12 deaths on Monday. With this, the total count rose to 2,91,471 and 11,088 so far.

“Of the 50 deaths reported today, 22 occurred in the last 48 hours and 5 in the last week. The remaining 23 deaths are from the period before last week. Out of the 23 deaths, seven were in Aurangabad, four in Thane, two in Nashik, two in Gondia and one each in Beed, Bhandara, Gadchiroli, Palghar, Jalna, Raigad, Parbhani and Pune,” said health officials.

Dr Pradeep Awate, state surveillance officer, however, said that there is no reason to panic. “Mutation or change in genomic make-up is normal. It was always expected. There is no reason to panic as the trends in Maharashtra are a sign of hope,” he said.

He further explained, “The positivity rate in September 2020 was around 24.6%. Every fourth sample being tested was found positive. The current positivity rate is around 6.5% to 7%. A central government-appointed panel has also stated that the pandemic might end in the country by February 2021. However, we are prepared for any eventuality and must not let our guards down.”

The government-appointed COVID-19 India National Supermodel committee had stated that, if all measures are followed, the pandemic might end by February 2021, with a few sporadic cases being recorded post that.

The state government has, however, put the administration on alert after the discovery of the mutant strain, asking civic bodies and district collectors to trace and conduct tests of all those who have come from the United Kingdom between November 15 and December 23. Dr Shashank Joshi, member of the state-appointed task force said, “While the state did not see a surge post Diwali, there are chances of a wave post Christmas and New Year celebrations. COVID-19 protocols are still not being observed in many places. We are on alert for a surge between December 26 and January 26.”

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