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Why Maharashtra was not able to check rapid Covid spread

On April 7, precisely 4 weeks after the primary Covid-19 case was detected in Maharashtra on March 9, the depend crossed 1000 to 1018. That day, the demise toll within the state was 64 (India’s general toll was 160 that day), and the mortality fee stood at 6.29% (greater than double of India’s mortality fee of three.02 on the identical day).

Thirty days later – on May 7 – the state had 17,974 circumstances and 694 deaths. In the subsequent six days, India’s worst-affected state added almost 8,000 circumstances to take the whole to 25,922 and 975 deaths on Wednesday. Simultaneously, Maharashtra has recorded 5,547 recoveries. The states with the subsequent highest variety of circumstances and deaths are Tamil Nadu (9227 circumstances, 64 deaths) and Gujarat (8904 circumstances, 537 deaths). Delhi is fourth with 7998 circumstances and 106 deaths.

As of Wednesday, May 13, Maharashtra’s mortality fee stood at 3.76%, a major enchancment from the primary few days of April, however nonetheless above the nationwide common of three.23%. If Maharashtra is excluded from the nationwide information, India would have 49,912 circumstances and 1477 deaths on May 13, bringing the mortality fee additional down to 2.96%. The world mortality fee, in accordance to information on worldometers.data, is 6.72% (6 pm, May 13).

On Wednesday, Mumbai’s numbers stood at 15,747 circumstances and 596 deaths, giving a mortality fee of three.78%.

What precisely went incorrect in Maharashtra’s case? Why does considered one of India’s most industrialised and affluent states have each essentially the most variety of Covid-19 circumstances in addition to deaths? The reply maybe lies in what the state did not do in January and February proper up to March 9, when the primary two Covid-19 circumstances had been detected in Maharashtra. In an interview with HT on April 8, Dr Avinash Bhondwe, president of Indian Medical Association, Maharashtra, laid the blame on travellers coming back from the United Arab Emirates for the preliminary spurt in circumstances. “In Maharashtra, more than 40% of the infections were owing to travellers who returned from the UAE,” he mentioned. “Even though Maharashtra’s first case was of a Dubai returnee, the state government waited for 10 days to start screening travellers from the UAE. This was a major loophole in the screening process.”

Indian airports started common screening solely within the third week of March. By then, on common, 42,000 worldwide travellers landed in Mumbai day by day. On March 22, India banned all home and worldwide passenger flights to and from Indian airports. “By then, it was too late,” mentioned a Maharashtra state well being division official, who wished to stay nameless. “We had thousands of fliers coming into Mumbai every single day and only a handful of them were screened for symptoms. What we cannot know for certain is the number of asymptomatic patients from the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore and other south-east Asian countries that may have passed through Mumbai international airport between February and March 22.”

Dr Bharat Purandare, infectious ailments skilled, Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, Pune, mentioned in an earlier interview to HT, “In retrospect, we can say that the government should have made universal screening of all passengers mandatory much earlier. Also, we should have stopped international flights in the first week of March.”

A month after the primary case was detected, Maharashtra was testing at 290 per million inhabitants. Since then, the state has improved its testing fee on May 13 to 1892 per million inhabitants. Gujarat assessments at 1760 per million and Tamil Nadu is at 3523 per million (all information in accordance to respective state well being departments). The bother with Mumbai, which now accounts for a fifth of all circumstances within the nation, although, is that its detection fee over the previous couple of days has risen to 33%. Which signifies that, for each 100 individuals examined, 33 are detected with Covid-19.

Civic officers mentioned that this was due to the change in testing protocol focused at containment zones. Additional municipal commissioner, Suresh Kakani, instructed HT on May 12, “Detection rate is increasing because of the increased number of testing samples per day. Often, pending test results were added to a particular day’s count. Hence it did not give us clarity. If we calculated the detection rate against 124,000 samples tested with 14,521 positive cases, then the detection rate remains 11.71%. This figure is higher than the state and national average because of targeted testing conducted by BMC in containment zones.” The nationwide common is 4.3% and Maharashtra’s common is 7%.

Civic officers mentioned Mumbai’s excessive quantity is primarily due to aggressive testing of high-risk contacts. Moreover, state and BMC well being officers blamed the shortage of bodily distancing in Mumbai’s most densely populated areas for the cluster spread. “Eight out of Mumbai’s 24 wards account for more than 50% of the city’s cases,” a senior civic official instructed HT on Wednesday. “These are among the most densely populated areas. Worli Koliwada, Dharavi, Kurla, Byculla, Saki Naka, and Andheri (West) are areas where the population density is anywhere between twice to 10 times that of Mumbai’s average.” According to United Nations inhabitants information for July 2019, Mumbai’s inhabitants density is 32,303 per sq. km. Dharavi, India’s largest slum, has almost 1000 circumstances. Its inhabitants density is 354,166 individuals per sq. km, in accordance to BMC inhabitants information.

(With inputs from Kushel Madhusoodanan, Rupsa Chakraborty and Eeshanpriya M S)

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