Maharashtra’s Covid-19 positivity rate in April was at 24.48 per cent compared to 19 per cent which was in March this year, which means there was a hike of almost 5 per cent. However, the overall positivity rate of the state is 17 per cent. Health officials have attributed this surge to the increasing number of Covid testing across the state which has almost doubled compared to March, moreover, some districts of Maharashtra are still witnessing higher number of Covid cases following which the positivity rate in April was 24 per cent.
According to the statistics, the state health department had conducted 71,30,941 Covid-19 tests in April, of which 17,46,309 individuals had tested COVID positive, while in March, 34,45,785 tests were done, of which 6,51,513 were tested corona positive.
Currently, the average positivity rate of cases in the state is 25.55 per cent and there are 14 districts where the positivity rate is much higher than the average of the state. The highest is in Osmanabad (39.25%), followed by Parbhani, Hingoli, Nagpur and Gadchiroli at 36.78%, 36.70%, 35.02%, 34.30%, respectively.
“Going by the circumstances, most of the ministers were of the view that complete lockdown is the need of the hour. They even want local trains to be shut down. However, some of them opined that shutting down will be trouble for employees engaged with essential services thus only trains, vegetables and milk and medical services should be allowed,” said a senior health official.
Pradeep Awate, joint director of health, said that Maharashtra is in the early stages of flattening the COVID-19 curve. "The lockdown should be continued for a few more days. We have to ease the burden off the hospitals. From the first or second week of May, we may see a significant drop in positive cases," he said.
Dr. Lancelot Pinto, Consultant Pulmonologist, P.D Hinduja Hospital & MRC said as the pandemic goes on, there are likely to be more mutants to arise, and they will undoubtedly see more mutants in the future. However, the way to tackle it remains the same. “Masking, sanitizing, and distancing are still the strongest tools against mutants and avoid the three C’s – closed, crowded spaces with closed contact with other individuals. Initial studies from the laboratory (in-vitro studies) for both vaccines in India suggest that they will be effective against the B.1.617 variant. There is no reason to believe that the current mutant seen in India will escape the immunity offered by existing vaccines,” he said.