Sixty-one per cent of corona cases and related fatalities in the state are from Mumbai and correspondingly, Maharashtra accounts for 35 per cent of the cases reported across India. However the mortality rate of the state and city is 3.57 per cent, as compared to 3.09 per cent for India. Civic and health officials attribute this to the aggressive testing, screening and tracing of close contacts.
In Lockdown 3.0, from May 4 to May 17, in the city, there were 11,354 Covid-19 cases and 391 deaths recorded, while in Maharashtra, there were 20,079 cases with 650 fatalities in the same period. However, at the end of the second phase of the lockdown, on May 3, there were 8,800 cases in Mumbai, with 343 deaths.
In the ongoing fourth phase of the lockdown, Mumbai has reported 22,563 corona cases and 800 deaths and the state has recorded 37,136 cases and 1,325 deaths until May 19 and nationwide, those numbers stand at 1,06,750 and 3,301 respectively, so far.
“Sixty-seven percent of the cases in India are reported from four states, including Maharashtra (35 per cent), followed by Tamil Nadu (11.66 per cent), Gujarat (11.37 per cent) and Delhi (9.8 per cent),” said health officials.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said there were many factors contributing to the rising number of cases in the city, the main one being intensive contact tracing, testing and quarantining of high-risk individuals.
“Between 45 percent and 50 per cent of our total cases are [the result of] efforts at contact tracing and fever camps in containment zones. So far, more than one lakh samples have been tested in Mumbai,” he said.
Dr Pradip Awate, state surveillance officer, said five cities in Maharashtra accounted for 96 per cent of corona cases and deaths so far. “The worst-affected city is Mumbai with 61 per cent of cases, followed by Thane division (15.20 per cent), Pune (13 per cent), Nashik (3.5 per cent) and Aurangabad (3.18 per cent) until May 19,” he said.
The civic health department feels the situation would have worsened without the lockdown. Daksha Shah, deputy director health department of BMC, said, “The basic principle behind the lockdown is to break the chain of the virus. It is not the only solution to deal with the coronavirus. Without it, the scenario could have been far worse. Cases are rising against increased testing, but our doubling rate is improving. Since last week, it has been between 11 and 12, better than last month’s nine.”
Dr Avinash Supe, former dean of KEM Hospital and head of the task force on Covid mortality, said the mortality rate in the city has been at a steady at 3.6 per cent for weeks now.In absolute numbers, the toll has increased in May, with 509 of the 800 deaths so far occurring in the month. “Deaths will increase because the number of people getting infected is increasing,” explained Dr Supe.
Health experts said the cases could have been controlled had citizens taken the lockdown more seriously. “It has been learnt people are still not taking this pandemic seriously, as they continue to step out without proper care,” he said.