Maharashtra's COVID-19 deaths go past 47K-mark

COVID-19 death toll in Maharashtra has breached 47,000-mark on Sunday with the state reporting 85 more coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours. The toll has reached 47,071 so far. The state recorded 5,594 new infections on Sunday pushing its tally to 18,20,059.

The active cases in the state rose nearly 15 percent in the past eight days. The state’s active caseload was on the decline till November 20, when it had 78,272 active cases. On Sunday, the active caseload stood at 90,997, which is an increase of 16.25 percent.

Mumbai recorded less than 1,000 cases on Sunday, with 940 new infections and 18 COVID-19 fatalities being reported in the last 24 hours, increasing the total count to 2,82,814, with 10,791 deaths till now.

In November so far, the state has reported 136,109 cases, with a daily average of 4,861 cases. In October, Maharashtra had recorded 293,960 cases. The number of cases in November shows a decline in the infection’s spread. However, the state health department has predicted a surge in cases after Diwali (November 15). A second wave is expected to hit the state by December-end or January 2021, according to prediction models of the health department.

However, state health department officials said that so far, there was no significant change in fresh cases.

“The cases have shown some increase, but it is due to increased testing after Diwali. The positivity rate has not shot up nor is it even showing an upward trend so far. The average positivity rate for the past week has been around 6.5 percent,” said a health department official.

BMC Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said, "The 14-day crucial period post-Diwali is over, and our positivity has been low and steady."

Yet the BMC has decided to continue with its intensified testing and infrastructure measures for another month. "Due to reverse migration taking place in Mumbai right now, we will keep testing and not to reduce our beds till December 31 at least," said Kakani.

Starting Sunday, the BMC will start distributing face masks for those who are caught without masks. "After charging a fine for not wearing a mask, we will provide offenders masks," added Kakani. Roughly 15,000 people are caught without a mask every day in Mumbai.

Infectious diseases specialist Dr Om Shrivastav, a member of the state task force, said the number of hospitalisations in Mumbai had increased in the last three days. "While the situation may improve in a few days, Mumbaikars should be aware it won't take much to tip the situation. It is best to wear a mask," said Dr Shrivastava.

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