Maharashtra has continued the trend of low COVID-19 cases for over a month. It was the 19th consecutive day when the daily cases recorded below 10,000, with 5,246 new infections and 117 fatalities on Thursday. With this, the total number of patients in the state rose to 17,03,444 and as many as 44,804 people succumbed to the disease so far. However, the concern for a spike in cases by November-end persists due to festivals and winter.
Mumbai, meanwhile, recorded 841 fresh infections and 25 deaths on Thursday, pushing its tally of total cases to 2,61,684 and 10,374 deaths. The number of active cases in the city also reduced to 16,116.
Senior health department officials said that a significant number of the population has been exposed to coronavirus and therefore, there could be herd immunity. “We are currently checking only for antibodies (through tests), but there is also innate immunity in humans. Therefore, herd immunity is more than what we have measured so far (in sero survey). Looking at the epidemiology, if the virus sees a surge in winter, a large number of people have been exposed and will have herd immunity,” he said.
Health department officials said that the curve is on a “descending limb”, but the state is wary and said it could be a “fluctuation” and not a real drop. Between September and October, Maharashtra has seen 50.33 percent decrease in cases and 39.98 percent decline in fatalities. The positivity rate has fallen below 10 percent. In September, out of 100 tests conducted, 25 would test positive and now it has come under 10.
“The drop that we are seeing right now may not be a real drop, but a mere fluctuation. If we see Pune’s picture, numbers lowered a few days ago but again increased. We have to remain cautious,” he said.
The health department official echoed the caution and said, “In Europe, we are seeing a new wave. For us, we are entering winter, Diwali is approaching and with further unlocking measures, people are going to mingle around more than earlier. Even if the cases are reducing, the threat of coronavirus has not ended. It is a new normal. We have to take precautions to live with it.”