For the second consecutive day, Maharashtra reported more than 6,000 cases on Thursday with the state reporting 6,406 new infections and 65 fatalities in the last 24 hours. With this, the number of positive cases in the state rose to 18,02,365 while the death toll stands at 46,813 now.
Mumbai also continued to record more than 1,000 cases, with 1,147 new infections and 16 COVID-19 fatalities on Thursday, increasing the total count to 2,79,737 and 10,739 deaths till now.
Health department officials said COVID-19 had spread in the semi-urban and rural part of the state between June and September, which has gradually stabilised and tapered down in many districts.
“Mumbai, its surrounding cities and Pune district are densely populated areas. They would naturally have more cases and therefore active cases are higher. The testing in these areas is also higher given more population. Having said that, the festive season resulted in an increased movement of people, coupled with the careless behaviour of people not wearing masks, among others. The result is a gradual increase in cases from these areas,” a state health department official said.
The state government and the administration have projected that cases would go up post-Diwali and the state would hit its second peak by December-end of in January-February 2021. Since November 16 (a day after Diwali weekend), Maharashtra has added 46,182 cases. Of these, 22,497 cases or 48.71 percent have come from MMR and Pune district.
MMR and Pune district were one of the hotspots during the first peak in the state. Health department officials said that the two regions could become hotspots once again if Covid-appropriate behaviour is not followed by people.
Dr Sanjay Pattiwar, public health expert, said, “People in the slum pockets of Mumbai have developed some antibodies, so people living in the buildings and high-rises are now more susceptible to catching the infection. Similarly for Thane, Navi Mumbai and Pune district, these are densely populated areas. With increased movement of people, work-travel in public transport, cases are expected to rise.” He said that people need to take masking and hand sanitisation even more seriously if another surge in cases is to be prevented.