For the first time since October last year, the COVID-19 doubling rate of two individual BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) wards has fallen below the 100 days mark. So far, all the 24 wards were maintaining an average doubling period between 250 days and 300 days.
Going by the latest data from the civic body, the doubling rate of K West ward (Andheri west, Juhu, Versova and Vile Parle) is 95 days and the doubling rate of M West ward (Chembur and Tilak Nagar) is 98 days. Just one month ago, on February 17, KW ward had a doubling period of 364 days and MW ward had a doubling period of 293 days.
Presently, these two wards have the lowest doubling rate in Mumbai. Meanwhile, the average doubling rate of other wards, such as H West (Bandra West, Khar West and Santacruz West), P South (Goregaon) and F North (Matunga), is also on the verge of falling below 100.
Alongside this, the average doubling rate of Mumbai has decreased by 282 days in just one month. Earlier, on February 17, it was 417 days. However, on March 17, it stands at 135 days.
According to senior civic health officials, the diminishing doubling rate also denotes that the infection rate is on the rise. Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner and in-charge of public health in BMC, said the rate of infection has been increasing since the past one month.
"Presently, Mumbai is not under lockdown. Local trains are operational and restaurants are open. So it’s quite natural for cases to increase," Kakani said. "However, more than 80 per cent of the active positive cases are asymptomatic and more than 60 per cent of the beds are still vacant in hospitals. Most of the beds in the active COVID-19 care facilities are also empty," Kakani added.
Senior civic health officials, who are incharge of the wards, have said that most of the fresh cases are the close contacts of earlier patients getting infected. "We are aggressively tracing contacts and have roped in the management officials of housing societies to keep a vigilant eye on the spread of the virus," said an official of K West ward. "However, there are no cluster cases and most of the cases are scattered," the officials added.
Vinayak Vispute, assistant municipal commissioner and in-charge of HW ward, said that the growth rate has increased suddenly because the base of the infection was small.
"More than 90 per cent of the fresh cases either have a travel history or have attended gatherings lately. This can be controlled only if citizens become more aware," Vispute said.
Another senior official from MW ward said that, in the past one month, the local ward offices have carried out multiple raids. Amid the rise in the number of cases, these officials have reopened multiple institutional quarantine centres that were deactivated in September.