After a steady decline in Covid-19 cases and deaths for three months, Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region is witnessing a sudden rise in infection, forcing health authorities to spring into action.
At 46,600, the number of cases in February was far more than the cases in November (28,074), December (25,177) and January (21,065), Times of India reported. Medical experts are worried that the spike could be due to an infectious variant of the virus.
Out of the total 46,600 cases reported in February, 30,000 plus cases were found in the last 10 days of the month. On February 21, the region recorded 2,527 cases, 36.25% of the total new cases in the state reported on that day.
The cases in Vidarbha have surpassed Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), which reported the highest number for most of the pandemic.
Mumbai also saw a three-month high in daily Covid-19 cases in Februrary. It reported 1,167 new infections, the highest in 119 days in the third week of the month. The last time the city had more than 1,167 cases was on October 28, when 1,354 were detected and Mumbai was merely coming out of the peak. It is also after 88 days since November 28 (1,063) that the city has added over 1,000 cases in a day.
There was a detailed presentation in the state cabinet meeting where data on the Covid-19 surge and the ongoing vaccination drive was presented. Nawab Malik, minister for skill development, said Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray instructed all districts to increase testing and contact tracing.
Intensivist Dr Rahul Pandit, a member of the state Covid task force, was quoted as saying by TOI that the rise in cases was “concerning”. “A rise in critical cases or deaths is seen 7-14 days after a surge in cases,” he said, adding that the next 10 days would be make or break for Mumbai.
The health department said in the meeting that despite a rise in average cases in February, the case fatality rate (CFR) is low. The daily average of cases in January was 2,973 and the case fatality rate was 1.7%. The daily average cases are 3,347 and total deaths reported in February are 775, taking the CFR to 0.4%.