Mumbai: Covid in endemic stage but we need to live with pandemic, says experts as Maha sees 87% drop in active cases

Nine of the 24 BMC’s wards have reported zero cases from December 4-11.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Monday, December 12, 2022, 11:57 PM IST
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Mumbai: Covid in endemic stage but we need to live with pandemic, says experts as Maha sees 87% drop in active cases | Representative Image

Mumbai: The number of active Covid-19 cases across Maharashtra has dropped by 87 per cent in the last 40 days. As per data, there were 1,566 active cases until November 1, which dipped drastically to 205 until December 11.

Meanwhile, nine of the 24 BMC’s wards have reported zero cases from December 4-11. Health experts said that the pandemic is not over yet, but Covid-19 is in the endemic stage, though it has not been declared officially yet. Moreover, the virus is behaving like the flu and people are recovering quickly and without any complications. 

BMC wards that recorded zero cases

As per the BMC dashboard, the wards which have recorded zero covid cases include Kurla (L ward), Kandivli (R-South ward), Byculla (E ward), Colaba (A ward), Chembur East (M-East ward), Borivli (R-Central ward), Marine Lines (C ward), Chembur West (M-West ward) and Goregaon (P-South ward), while remaining wards have witnessed less than 5 or 10 cases.

Dr Daksha Shah, Joint Executive Health Officer, BMC said there are several factors due to which numbers reduced drastically such as the transmission rate of the virus has reduced and most of them have taken both doses of Covid vaccine along with booster or precautionary. 

“We are happy cases have reduced though we are seeing various mutations of the virus. However people are also not much serious about the virus as all of them are vaccinated and have antibodies against the virus, but people with comorbidities need to follow covid norms in public places considering winter season has started and there might be a moderate infection rate,” she said.

Dr Jitendra Choudhary, Consultant - Intensive Care & Critical Care, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital Vashi said a pandemic is an epidemic caused by an infectious disease spread across a huge region, that might be worldwide or across the continent, affecting a substantial number of the population. COVID-19, in most probability, is one of the most significant pandemics that most of us have seen in our lifetime, and over the last two years, we have seen it affect many countries. 

“Even worse, this disease had multiple strains, which again affected a wide variety of populations, some of whom were affected numerous times. It has even been some time since we witnessed the last big wave of COVID-19, which was in December 2021, after which cases have decreased substantially. However, as per WHO, COVID-19 is far from becoming an endemic disease and could still trigger large outbreaks worldwide,” he said. However, there is no single agreed definition of what it means for COVID-19 to become endemic. A more appropriate term is "living with COVID19", which means life now must incorporate public health mitigation measures to reduce the impact of the disease.

Expert: Minor rise and fall in reported cases has limited relevance

Dr Chandrakant Lahariya, practising physician and epidemiologist said Covid-19 infections and disease trends, epidemiologically speaking, COVID-19 have become endemic in India for the last few months. The revised testing approach where testing is completely voluntary and not everyone is being tested, minor rise and fall in reported cases has limited relevance and can not be used for any inference. At least not in isolation.

“We know Sars-CoV-2 CoV2 is circulating in all settings and it will continue to do so. Therefore, future programmatic consideration should be derived based upon a combined interpretation of new case patterns, clinical outcomes (and change in them) and new variants. Though future waves can not be ruled out, the probability of a major wave with clinical impact is very low,” he said.

Dr Kedar Toraskar, critical care specialist and a member of the state Covid Task Force, said, "We can’t say the pandemic is over. The number of tests done daily has gone down. Nowadays, hardly any hospital is conducting as many tests as they did before. Hence it is difficult to say that the pandemic is over. Since January, we are seeing Omicron and its sub-variants dominating the infections, and these haven't been replaced by any new variant. However, the virus is behaving like the flu and people are recovering quickly and without any complications. The recent deaths have been due to other health issues along with Covid-19."

Dr Vasant Nagvekar, Co-director of Infectious Disease at Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital “As of now, we have not been seeing a sharp spike in Covidcases despite fully opening up, and that’s good news. We, however, cannot say it’s endemic as of now. Time will tell us more; we will have to wait for the next six months to one year to observe before we can say the same. Other countries like China are witnessing some cases, this however should not be a matter of concern for us. We will have to remain watchful, take precautions, and hope for the best.”

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