MUMBAI Updated: Sep 11, 2020 00:02 IST

Surendra P Gangan

Maharashtra on Thursday inched towards one million Covid-19 cases with 23,446 new infections, including Mumbai’s sharpest single-day spike of 2,371, taking the tally to 9,90,795. The state on Thursday also reported its highest number of deaths in a day, 495, taking the toll to 28,282. The latest fatalities included 47 from reconciliation of older cases and another 133 were from over a week.

Barring Sunday, the state has reported more than 20,000 cases daily over the past six days. In the first 10 days of September, the state has reported 198,254 cases — 20% of the total cases reported in six months of the virus outbreak.

Mumbai reported its highest single-day jump in cases for a second consecutive day, which pushed its count to 1,63,115, while the toll crossed the 8,000 mark with 38 more deaths. There are 26,629 active cases in Mumbai, while the city’s fatality rate is 4.9%. One hot spot that has shown drastic improvement – Dharavi – recorded 11 new cases on Thursday, bringing the area’s case count to 2,850, of which 2,478 have been discharged.

Of the latest deaths, 72 were from Satara district, 50 each were reported from from Nagpur and Pune districts, 39 were from Kolhapuri.

Pune district topped the list for daily caseload at 5,939 new cases, including 2,969 in Pune city,1,802 in its rural parts and 1,168 in Pimpri-Chinchwad. Nagpur saw 1,726 new cases, while Satara, Sangli and Jalgon reported 1,017, 1,031 and 1,089 cases respectively.

The state recovery rate has dropped, while the positivity rate has increased. The recovery rate dropped to 70.72%, which had crossed 72.32% on August 31. State’s case fatality rate (CFR), too, stood at 2.85%, against the national rate of 1.69%.

A few districts such as Kolhapur, Sangli, Nagpur, Satara have been key contributors in the sudden spike in cases and they have seen a rise of more than 50% in the last two weeks, from August 26 to September 9. Sangli’s growth during this period was 107% (10,108 to 20,924), cases in Satara grew by 88% (from 10995 to 20657), Nagpur by 92% (22,378 to 42,974) and Kolhapur by 57.63% (19076 to 30069). State’s caseload rise in two weeks is 34.59% (from 7.19 lakh to 9.67 lakh).

The state authorities are now concentrating on these districts. “Our directives to the district and civic administrations are to ramp up health facilities on one hand and to track-trace high-low risk contacts. This would help in containing the spread and later treat the patients identified. We expect our ‘chase-the-virus’ drive beginning from September 15 plays a major role in identifying more infections, which will help contain the rapid spread, especially witnessed in the rural parts of the state,” said an official from the health department.

Dr Sanjay Salunkhe, civil surgeon of Sangli district, said that the unlocking over the past two weeks, movement of people from other districts or states and lack of awareness among people about social distancing has led to the rise in the cases. “We have been continuously ramping up our health infrastructure and had started laying oxygen pipelines for rural and sub-district hospitals too. Our oxygenated bed capacity has increased to more than 1,460 beds in the district and we have 201 ventilators. We trace around 12-15 high and low risk contact to contain the spread. We expect the rate of the new infections to reduce by the end of this month as the district is currently witnessing its peak of the infection,” he said.

The doubling period in most of the districts has, however, improved and is more than 10 days, except Chandrapur, which has reported a doubling rate at 9.56 days. Nagpur and Nanded have reported the period at 15.1 and 18.11 days, while in urban parts of Sangli, it’s 17.43 days. In all nine municipal corporations in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), it’s over 30 days. The growth or reproduction rate in cities and districts in the state ranges between 1.03(Bhiwandi-Nizampur) and 1.59% (Chandrapur), according to the daily report released by a group from Mumbai University, headed by economist Neeraj Hatekar.

courtesy HT