Mumbai recorded 5,542 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, its lowest single-day rise this month, giving hope to thousands of frontline workers and the beleaguered administration which has been crumbling under the overbearing pressure of the second Covid-19 wave in the mammoth metropolis since last month.
Currently, the city’s Covid-19 tally stands at 6,27,651.
On Saturday, it had recorded 5,888 cases, which declined further on Sunday. The city on March 30 had reported 4,758 COVID-19 cases, after which the figures had risen above the 8,000-mark. “Apart from increased testing and tracing and early isolation, the migration of over six lakh workers may have played a role in the reduction of numbers," said a senior civic official.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had given several hints that the state was considering the reintroduction of lockdown-like measures which prompted migrant labourers to leave the city, he added. The Central and Western Railways had run almost 500 special trains in last some weeks and most of them ran at full capacity.
Mumbai’s Downward Spiral
April 4: 11,163
April 7: 10,428
April 9: 9,200
April 11: 9,000
April 13: 7,898
April 15: 8,217
April 16: 8,839
April 18: 8,400
April 19: 7,381
April 20: 7,214
April 21: 7,684
April 22: 7,410
April 23: 7,221
April 24: 5,888
April 25: 5,542
It is for the first time since April 12 that the number of daily cases is less than 7,000. On Sunday, the virus claimed the lives of 64 patients, 36 of them having co-morbidities, a statement from the health department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said.
Of the total number of deceased, 28 were females, it added. With this, the COVID-19 fatality count of the country’s financial capital has gone up to 12,783.
A total of 40,298 people were tested during the day, which pushed the overall test count to 52,43,734. The city’s recovery count grew to 5,37,711 as 8,478 patients recuperated from the infection on Sunday.
The number of active cases is 75,740 now. The recovery rate of Mumbai district is 86 percent.
Mumbai’s COVID-19 growth rate between April 18 and April 24 was 1.17 percent, while the doubling rate was 58 days.
Did curbs help?
After days of speculations and numerous back and forth with his own ministers and coalition partners, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced a slew of restrictions three days after Mumbai cases peaked. On April 14, the state shut theatres, malls, gyms, spas, salons and banned all public gatherings.
“Livelihoods are important, but life is more important," Thackeray had said as he made an impassioned speech while putting the state under lockdown-like curbs, while refusing to use the term.
Then, a few days later, the state further tightened the noose as cases continued to spiral upwards and banned all inter-district and inter-city travel. To avoid crowding, essential services, including grocery stores, have been permitted to operate only between 7 and 11 am. The restrictions termed ‘Break the Chain’ by the government will remain effective till May 1.
Experts have also pointed at the laxity by citizens in following Covid-appropriate behaviour when infections began rearing their heads again in February after having ebbed for months.
The three-member panel constituted by the Centre that visited Maharashtra in March attributed the surge to a lack of fear of the disease in people and pandemic fatigue as key factors for the surge.
Visuals and photos run by news channels and papers showed citizens crowding markets, milling in malls, attending weddings with zero to no concern for social distancing or masking up.
And now, even though the numbers are down, the risk remains high. Authorities are worried that the upward swing will be back as soon as the restrictions are withdrawn posing a huge dilemma before CM Thackeray who had faced immense pushback from politicians and business owners before the last set of restrictions.