Maharashtra reported the highest daily COVID-19 deaths after four months. 227 people succumbed to the deadly virus on Wednesday, increasing the death toll to 54,469. Earlier, more than 200 deaths were reported in November last year. “Of the 227 deaths reported today, 129 occurred in the last 48 hours and 61 in the last week. The remaining 37 deaths are from the period before last week. Of these 37 deaths, 15 occurred in Pune, five in Palghar, four in Jalgaon, three in Jalna, two each in Gondia and Thane and one each in Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Nanded, Nashik and Washim,” said an official.
Meanwhile, the state also witnessed 39,544 new cases in the last 24 hours, pushing its tally to 28,12,980 cases so far. Mumbai reported 5,394 new cases and 15 fatalities on Wednesday, increasing the respective tallies to 4,14,714 and 11,686. Meanwhile, the doubling rate of the cases has dropped to 49 days, while weekly growth rate has increased to 1.37 per cent.
Dr Subhash Salunkhe, state advisor for COVID-19 said, while the virus circulating in the state could be said to be more infectious than the first wave, but not as lethal, more data is needed to draw the correlation to the surge. “With their relaxed behaviour, people have allowed the virus to enter their bodies, mutate and spread further. Even now, people are least bothered about the rules. So far, we have seen that only a small percentage of the newly infected people have been diagnosed with a mutated strain. Thus, it is not scientifically correct to call it as the main reason for the rise in new COVID-19 cases, but just as one of the contributing factors,” he said.
Dr Shashank Joshi, a member of the state-appointed task force said the state will see a spike in the coming days. “The numbers will increase and the state will break records in the coming days. Apart from non-compliance to the COVID-19 protocols, the other reason for the surge is also increased testing and increased contact tracing in all the districts,” he said.