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Twice Bitten, Thrice Shy: Covid-Battered Maharashtra Uses Lessons From Second Wave to Prep For Third

Maharahstra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray (Image: Twitter/ @OfficeofUT)

Maharahstra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray (Image: Twitter/ @OfficeofUT)

Maharashtra on Wednesday reported 10,107 fresh coronavirus positive cases and 237 fatalities.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday said the state must take lessons from the second COVID-19 wave to prepare for the next as he directed the authorities in the state to keep medical supplies ready for a possible third wave in the coming months. In a meeting with the doctors and officers of the state’s COVID task force, the chief minister said the administration should ascertain that adequate medicines and equipment will be available in the rural areas too.

Maharashtra on Wednesday reported 10,107 fresh coronavirus positive cases and 237 fatalities, taking the count of infections to 59,34,880 and the toll to 1,15,390 while 10,567 patients recovered during the day, the state health department said. Mumbai city reported 821 new infections and 11 fatalities, which raised the overall tally to 7,17,172 and the death toll to 15,227.

Threat of Third Wave, Lessons from Second

The doctors emphasised on conducting large scale sero surveys, which will help them determine the presence of Covid antibodies in people, and aggressive vaccination drive across the state. They further warned against crowding and flouting health regulations and Covid-related restrictions to avoid entering the third wave earlier than expected, while still coming out of the second wave.

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Stressing on the need to take lessons from the previous coronavirus waves, Thackeray said that in the first wave the state lacked adequate facilities but it was better equipped later as the facilities were developed. The second wave has taught us many things, he said. “This wave is now receding and taking experience from it, we will have to ascertain that adequate medicine, health facilities, beds and oxygen is available. This should be seen as a priority," the chief minister said.

Status of Vaccines

On the availabilty of vaccines in the Maharashtra, Thackeray said there is information that the state will get 42 crore vaccines around August-September and this may accelerate the inoculation drive throughout the state. He also said that vaccination is an important part of the efforts against the coronavirus pandemic, but at the same time it is equally important to follow all the COVID-related rules, which include wearing masks, maintain hygiene and social distancing.

The meeting also discussed about the possible medicines, their procurement, provision of funds, RT- PCR kits, masks, PPE kits that may be needed in the near future. The chief minister directed that all the machineries responsible should coordinate among themselves to ensure the availability of these facilities.

Covid Count May Soar in Third Wave

The meeting focused on the fact that the number of patients in the second wave doubled as compared to the first wave, and now the danger of new delta plus variant is speculated in the third wave which may go on to double the present figure. The health department said that during the first wave in the state, there were 19 lakh patients and this figure crossed 40 lakhs in the second wave. The number of active patients may also cross eight lakh and that of infected children maybe around 10 per cent. 

Comparing data from last year, the health department said on September 17, 2020, a maximum of 3,01,752 patients were registered whereas on April 22, 2021, 6,99,858 patients were registered in the second wave. On September 13, 2020, 517 COVID patients died whereas in the second wave 1,110 patients died on April 26, 2021. The weekly positivity on September 9, 2020 was 23.53 per cent, which was the highest while in the second wave, the highest was on April 8, 2021 when 24.96 per cent positivity rate was registered.

The meeting was attended by Health Minister Rajesh Tope, chief secretary Sitaram Kunte, additional chief secretary of the chief minister Ashish Kumar Singh, principal secretary of chief minister Vikas Kharge, Secretary of the chief minister Aabasaheb Jarhad, principal secretary of finance department Raj Gopal Devra, principal secretary of health department Dr Pradeep Vyas, Dr Ramaswamy, Dr Sanjay Oak, Dr Shashank Joshi, Dr Rahul Pandit, Dr Tatyarao Lahane and others.

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first published:June 16, 2021, 23:10 IST