On Thursday, according to the public health department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the city recorded 1,540 new cases and 97 Covid-19 deaths. For the second time in a row, Mumbai recorded the highest number of single-day deaths, taking the total positive count to 54,085 cases, with 1,954 deaths so far. However, civic officials inform, the good news for the city is that the doubling rate of cases has increased to 25 days.
But given the increase in the number of cases in some parts of the city, the outlook seems grim. Despite strict implementation of the lockdown, in the last ten days,the number of cases have increased from 39,464 on May 31 to 53,895 on June 10, a 27 per cent rise. On an average, 1,443 cases are being reported daily. “Since the testing protocol has been changed, many people are getting Covid tests at private labs, causing numbers to increase on a daily basis,” said an official.
Almost 90 days since the outbreak, it is the first time the doubling rate in E ward(Byculla) and F-north ward(Matunga) has increased to 50 days. Similarly, doubling time has improved in most of the containment zones, in wards like G North, which includes areas like Dharavi, Dadar and Mahim.
“From an average doubling rate of 11 days as late as May 23, or two months since the beginning of the lockdown, cases in Mumbai are now taking 24 days to double,” said senior officials.
Assistant Municipal Commissioner of G-North ward Kiran Dighavkar said, “Aggressive testing and screening of people through fever clinics helped in tackling the Covid-19 challenge in the area. We could identify people with symptoms and isolate them, which helped contain further transmission of the virus."
However, P North ward (Malad) is the only exception, where the case doubling rate continues to be 11 days, compared with six days in late May.
Assistant Municipal Commissioner Sanjog Kabare, P North ward, said, “People are unwilling to be moved to facilities, as they claim they have individual toilets. But where the density of population is high, we will have to take police help.” Managing containment zones is a challenge, now that the lockdown has been relaxed, he said. “We are trying to make containment zones tighter, zeroing in on speciﬁc pockets."
According to a senior civic official, they have found that in most parts of the city, the incidence of infection has peaked and adherence to social distancing norms and adequate precautions should help contain the number of new infections. However, adherence to the prescribed safeguards is crucial for the city to become virus-free. “If people practice adequate safeguards, like ensuring social distance and wearing masks in public, then by June-end we will be sitting pretty. Otherwise, we may have to brace for another round,” he said.