Coronavirus in Maharashtra: Poor infrastructure in rural areas hampers COVID-19 fight in state

There has been almost a two-fold rise in the number of positive corona cases and recovered patients across Maharashtra in the last one month. According to the state health department, there were 2,30,599 cases on July 9 which has now increased to 5,15,332 until August 9, similarly the number of patients who have recovered has risen to 3,51,710 from 1,27,259 which was reported on July 9. Experts said it is good news that more number of people are recovering but on the other hand the same number of cases are being reported on a daily basis which is the matter of concern.

As per the data provided by the state health department, 84,621 had recovered between June 9 to July 8 which was increased to 2,24,451 during the period July 9 to August 9. Similarly, during the same period 1,39,812 cases were reported which was increased to 2,84,733 between July 9 to August 9.

State health officials attributed this increase in the number of positive cases to the lack of infrastructure in rural parts of Maharashtra and stigma due to which people are still not coming forward for early treatment. “The worst is not over yet, as the state has not reached the peak of infections. Maharashtra is also witnessing “early signs of community transmission”, but it is not a cause for concern as the spread would remain ‘local’,” said an official.

Dr Pradip Awate, state surveillance officer said Maharashtra could continue to witness a rise in the number of daily Covid cases till next month, but the growth rate of transmission will remain low.

“There are indicators that suggest the outbreak is under control. It also suggests transmission is not happening rapidly. The doubling rate has improved. The overall growth rate is 3%, and in some cities, it’s fewer than 2%. The positivity rate, too, is much lower now despite the increase in daily testing,” Awate said.

In the past 10 days, the state has averaged 10,239 cases daily. From August 1 to August 10, the state added 1,02,395 cases to its tally. Similarly, during the same period 1,02,263 have recovered, which means on an average 10,226 are discharged from the hospitals.

“The absolute cases are expected to increase for some more weeks, but the positive side is that daily recovery is also increased. We could see the decline in cases by September-end or early October,” said Awate.

“But the virus will not vanish. There will be scattered cases coming in from areas as we had seen in the case of H1N1 (swine flu). When H1N1 outbreak happened in 2009, we thought it would go away the next year, but even today cases are reported every alternate year,” he added.

The Central government has also expressed concern over the high number of Covid-19 deaths in Maharashtra and has listed 10 districts that need to do more to tackle the crisis. These districts are Pune, Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Nashik, Ahmednagar, Jalgaon, Sangli and Nagpur.

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