For the first time since the pandemic outbreak, there were more than 60,000 cases reported in Maharashtra on Sunday--63,294 new infections and 349 deaths in the last 24 hours, pushing the caseload to 34,07,245, with 57,987 fatalities till now. It is the highest number of single-day cases reported so far.
In the city, the number of cases just stopped short of the 10,000-mark, with 9,998 new infections and 58 deaths being reported in the last 24 hours, increasing the total count to 5,20,214, with 12,017 fatalities so far. The weekly growth rate has increased to 2 per cent, and the doubling rate has dropped to 35 days. The number of active cases in the state and city have increased to 5,65,587 and 92,464 respectively, with the recovery rates dropping to 81 per cent and 79 per cent, in Maharashtra and Mumbai respectively.
According to health officials, when the first wave subsided in October, there was a premature sense of euphoria that Covid-19 was gone. “In the last five months, the government should have anticipated a second wave and ramped up its medical infrastructure, like increasing the number of hospital beds, ventilators, ICU facilities and also appointed more medical personnel,” said a senior health official.
A doctor from a BMC hospital said that deaths could rise in the coming week because of the high number of hospitalisations over the last 10-15 days. “Usually, the number of Covid deaths go up a fortnight after a rise in cases,’’ said the doctor.
Officials said people need to strictly adhere to precautions as the careless attitude of the public will only inflict more difficulties on the state. “We have been observing that most people have stopped taking the pandemic seriously and don’t care about social-distancing norms. This is worrying, as not only are they endangering their lives, but also those of their family members,” said a health official.
Dr Subhash Salunkhe, chairman of the Maharashtra Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Technical Committee, said citizens should not think the Covid vaccines will confer complete immunity from the virus. Even after having received two doses, people must continue to follow Covid norms strictly. “People should follow all the guidelines issued by the state in public interest, as we cannot completely depend upon vaccines. It would be unwise to do so as we yet don’t know when it is actually going to be available and the level of protection it will give. We are only hoping for the best,” he said.