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Business News/ News / India/  Mumbai's ‘tremendous’ rise in Covid cases driving Maharashtra's surge, warns experts
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Mumbai's ‘tremendous’ rise in Covid cases driving Maharashtra's surge, warns experts

Following the sudden surge in cases Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has called a meeting of the Covid-19 task force on Thursday.

The state of Maharashtra on Thursday reported 1,045 new Covid-19 cases, of which state capital Mumbai reported 704 infections. (HT_PRINT)Premium
The state of Maharashtra on Thursday reported 1,045 new Covid-19 cases, of which state capital Mumbai reported 704 infections. (HT_PRINT)

MUMBAI:The state of Maharashtra on Thursday reported 1,045 new Covid-19 cases, of which state capital Mumbai reported 704 infections. On Wednesday, Maharashtra recorded 1,081 fresh Covid-19 cases.

Following the sudden surge in cases Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has called a meeting of the Covid-19 task force on Thursday.

Maharashtra on 1 May had recorded 169 Covid-19 cases, which surged to 711 on 31 May. Of the total 9,354 cases added by the state in May, 5,980 cases, or nearly 64%, were contributed by Mumbai, according to official data.

The ‘tremendous’ surge in Covid-19 cases that Maharashtra saw within May were primarily driven by its capital city Mumbai, experts have warned. A top official has also expressed that the approaching monsoon could herald a spate of symptomatic cases.

Mumbai's contribution also came to limelight as the Dharavi area in the city 1 June recorded 10 cases, taking its active count to 37.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had received praise from the World Health Organization during the earlier phases of the pandemic for successfully containing the spread of the virus in the area where over six lakh people live.

BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal asked officials to ramp up testing on war-footing and also keep staff at `jumbo' Covid hospitals on alert amid the steady climb in the number of infections. 

"The new cases (reported) daily have gone up tremendously in Mumbai, and with monsoon round the corner, we will now see a rapid rise in symptomatic cases," Chahal told BMC officials. 

If the Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra continue to spike, the state government will be forced to make face masks mandatory again, news agency PTI quoted minister Ajit Pawar as saying.

Health experts are stressing that pandemic norms like wearing of masks and social distancing, which were rolled back to "voluntary mode" on 2 April this year amid a fall in cases, will have to be observed diligently again. 

"The rise in cases could be due to multiple reasons. Vaccination coverage has slowed down, and is poor in the under-18 and booster dose segments. Moreover, the virus undergoes mutations to form new variants that are either more transmissible, or the immunity acquired by vaccination does not fully protect against them," said Dr Trupti Gilada, Infectious Diseases specialist at the city's Masina Hospital. 

"But, in this relatively immune population, the symptoms are still milder. Therefore, there is no reason to panic since there is no increase in hospitalisations or deaths despite the rising number of cases," Gilada pointed out. 

She also said the pattern observed in these case is not very different from what is seen in other respiratory viral illnesses like influenza, with a minor surge being seen every few months. 

"We should focus on ramping up vaccination, both for those below 18 years and the administration of booster doses. The mandatory gap between second dose and booster dose should be six months rather than the current nine months. With close to 20 crore vaccines lying with states and nearly three crore with Maharashtra alone, boosters should be made free for those eligible and who are willing," Gilada said. 

Dr Sanjith Saseedharan, consultant & head Critical Care at Mahim's S L Raheja Hospital, said the rise in cases may be due to the presence of BA.4 and BA.5 variants and the growth advantage these may be possessing. The state health department had announced on 28 May that for the first time, four patients of BA. 4 variant and three cases of BA. 5 variants of the Omicron sub-lineage of coronavirus had been found, all in Pune. 

He also said the increase in mobility of the general population after the relaxation or removal of Covid-19 curbs could also be resulting in the rise in cases. 

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Published: 02 Jun 2022, 07:47 PM IST
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