Mumbai: Maharashtra Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope and health department officials do not seem to be on the same page when it comes to the subject of the second wave of the pandemic.
Tope, who has been on the field supervising the implementation of the coronavirus containment strategy since March, categorically stated the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus was remote.
But barely a few hours later, State Epidemiologist Dr Pradeep Awate predicted a second wave in the state, citing experts but clarified that it would not be severe as the first one.
But there is one thing on which both Tope and Dr Awate are agreed: the state government is now quite capable, especially in view of upgraded healthcare, to handle a second spike, if it strikes. Dr Awate said the recovery rate is 89.92 per cent while the fatality rate is 2.61per cent.
The two statements came on a day when 4,009 Covid-19 positive cases and 104 deaths were reported. The progressive cases have surged to 16,87,784, with 15,24,304 discharged, 1, 18, 777active cases and 44,128 deaths.
“The coronavirus crisis is slowly receding. There are fewer chances of a second wave. Even if it strikes, the government is prepared to combat it effectively,’’ said Tope.
However, Dr Awate said even though the impact of the first wave of pandemic was reducing, with the onset of winter, experts have hinted the likelihood of another wave but not as severe as witnessed in Europe and other countries. “Today, we see less than 5,000 patients a day. The rate of increase in the number of patients is below 10 per cent,’’ he noted.
Tope said due to the second wave in Europe, fresh lockdowns had to be announced. “However, in Maharashtra there is lesser possibility of a second wave,’’ he opined.
He said testing facilities across the state had been increased and the state government had already lowered the rates of RT-PCR tests and capped the prices of masks, sanitisers and ambulances, to give relief to Covid patients. From Monday, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation had started free Covid testing at 244 places in the city, he pointed out.
On the subject of the reopening of places of worship, Tope said it would have to be discussed with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray after Diwali.