A day after recording the highest single-day Covid cases, Maharashtra and Mumbai witnessed a 41.46% and 25% decline, respectively. However, one death was reported from Amravati on April 8.
Mumbai reported 207 cases on Saturday compared to 276 on April 7, taking the tally till date to 11,58,667. The active cases, meanwhile, have surged to 1,385, while the doubling rate has dropped to 4,215 days.
A dip in number of cases
Maharashtra witnessed a drop from 926 on April 7 to 542 on April 8, pushing the overall tally to 81,49,141.
A sudden surge has, however, triggered a concern about the emergence of a recombination virus, which might have better functional capabilities than the parents lineages.
Over 60% of Covid cases across the state and 38.2% in India are due to a fresh recombination of the SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron (XBB 1.16), mandating whole genome sequencing to find out whether the variant is mutating further and if it’s lethal. So far, 113 cases of this subtype have been recorded across the country with most of them in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
XBB is antibody-evasive but not lethal
XBB is currently the most antibody-evasive strain but it is not as lethal as the Delta variant that causes thousands of deaths in 2021 during the second wave. Anyone previously infected with the Omicron variant continues to be susceptible to XBB infection. The protection offered by booster vaccines is debatable and hence not affirmatively advised.
Additional municipal commissioner Dr Sanjeev Kumar said that the sudden surge of the XBB variant is mainly due to weather changes. A senior doctor from the state Covid-19 taskforce said that though the surge is due to the XBB.1.16 variant of Omicron, XBB.1.15, BQ.1.1 and BQ.1 are also contributing to daily cases. He said recombinants emerged with combinations of BA.2.10 and BA.2.75 in some hot-spot areas as XBB in China and Singapore in June 2022, and XBB.1.5 (also called Kraken) in New York in October 2022. Most of XBB.1.5 was controlled by boosters in the United States.
The state health department said there will be ups and downs in Covid, but major concern is mortality, which is being reported across Maharashtra. In the last seven days, 16 deaths have been reported compared to 20 in March and zero in February.
“Most of the deaths occurred in the 50-plus age group and all of them had some comorbidities. Moreover, some of them had also not taken their third dose of Covid vaccine. We urge citizens to get vaccinated as soon as the stocks are available at government-run centres, or they can also take the jab at private hospitals,” an official said.
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