Mumbai: For the third consecutive day, more than 20,000 new Covid cases were reported in Mumbai on Saturday. The city recorded 20,318 new cases in the last 24 hours, a 3 per cent drop from the 20,971 cases reported the day before, taking the total count to 8,95,098 so far. Officials have attributed this marginal drop to the delay in test results by laboratories that are so backlogged that they are unable to deliver reports in 24 hours. Also, self-testing has become hugely popular and these are largely unreported.
There were five Covid deaths in Mumbai on Saturday, taking the total number of fatalities to 16,399. From January 1 to 8, 22 Covid deaths have been reported in the city, of which 20 were from the 60-plus group and two from the under-40 group.
“For now, Covid fatalities are in single digits but from the next week, the number of deaths is likely to increase considering that senior citizens are being infected, due to which hospitalisations,” said a doctor from the civic health department.
Maharashtra also witnessed a marginal rise in the daily Covid-19 cases on Saturday, with 41,434 new infections and 13 corona deaths being recorded in the last 24 hours, pushing its tally to 68,75,656, with 1,41,627 deaths.
“As cases are increasing, there will be a slight rise in case fatalities. But as seen globally, because of less severity, the death rate has remained low. Generally, there is a 2-3 week lag in the reporting of deaths so, we have to keep a close eye on those numbers,” said Dr Pradip Awate, state surveillance officer.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said according to internal projections, cases in Mumbai were likely to peak around mid-January and cases would start declining after that. “Due to the rise in the positivity rate, we have also increased testing. In December, we were doing around 40,000 daily tests, which have been increased to over 72,000. The next two weeks will be crucial in observing how the virus behaves. Mostly, we will witness a plateau by the third week of January, after a sporadic spike,” he said. In the next few days, we may see a rise in the proportion of the symptomatic among the positive cases.
The state also reported 133 cases of Omicron on Saturday. Of these, 118 are from Pune, eight from Pimpri-Chinchwad, three from Pune rural, two from Vasai-Virar and one each from Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The total number of Omicron cases recorded in the state now stands at 1,009, of which 439 cases have been discharged following negative RT-PCR tests.
Dr Shashank Joshi, a member of the state’s Covid taskforce, said the drop could be due to clogged laboratories unable to deliver reports in 24 hours. “Also, a huge number of people are going for self-tests and not reporting. They must declare their results, or else we won’t have a correct picture of the spread,” he said. The city’s positivity rate remained at 29 per cent, after 72,442 tests were carried out.
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