Updated: January 10, 2022 8:23:01 am
WHILE MUMBAI registered a slight dip in coronavirus cases for the second day running, Pune saw its biggest single-day jump during the third wave and recorded 6,464 new cases on Sunday.
The state capital reported 19,474 cases on Sunday, slightly less than 20,318 cases registered on Saturday. Across the state, 44,388 new cases were reported.
Experts attributed the slight dip in cases in Mumbai to a small drop in testing on Sunday, unreported positive cases because of at-home antigen testing kits and backlog of RT-PCR test reports.
Mumbai is the first city in the country showing signs that the rise in Covid-19 cases may be stabilising. Delhi, which was the first to experience the surge of the third wave along with Mumbai, though, is continuing to report higher numbers every day. Other cities and states have also been on the upward journey.
Manindra Agrawal, a professor of mathematics and computer science at IIT Kanpur, who has been running a computer model to simulate the pandemic’s trajectory, had said he expected Mumbai to peak around the middle of this month. At an Idea Exchange programme at The Indian Express, he said the detection of new cases in Mumbai were likely to come down as quickly as it had risen.
But Pune’s upward journey is likely to continue for some time. The city has been consistently testing more than 30,000 samples every day, near the highest number that it had attained during the second wave. On Sunday, over 4,000 cases were reported from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) areas while Pimpri-Chinchwad contributed over 1,500 cases. The remaining came from rural areas and Cantonments. Pune district now has over 23,400 active cases.
Mumbai, meanwhile, hasn’t witnessed any surge in numbers for four consecutive days now. Since Thursday, the daily cases have been stable. On January 6, a total of 19,780 cases were detected which increased slightly by 5.6 per cent on January 7 with 20,971 fresh cases. On January 8, it dropped to 20,318 by 3.1 per cent. On January 9, the daily cases plunged further to 19,474 with a 4.1 per cent drop.
Earlier, on January 4, the city logged a 33.7 per cent surge with 10,606 fresh cases, up from the previous day’s 7,928. On January 5, this increased further to 15,014, the highest single-day surge — 41.56 per cent — recorded since the pandemic began in March 2020. Before this, the city had marked its highest single-day surge in April 2021 with over 11,000 cases. On January 6, a total of 19,780 cases were detected — an increase of 31.74 per cent — as per the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner, BMC said, “It is a good sign that cases aren’t surging as expected. We had anticipated scoring 30,000 cases in one day, considering the daily 30-40% surge. But it is not a plateau. We will meet the peak next week with a sporadic surge.”
When asked if the heavy work pressure on laboratories is causing delay in getting the reports within 24 hours, he said, “There was some backlog due to some technical issues in some reports but there is no backlog for 72 hours which can influence the daily figure.”
Doctors have been hinting towards unregulated usage of in-home antigen testing kits causing underreporting of positive cases. The Indian Express recently highlighted how the business of antigen-producing kits has surged by 200 per cent, which is leading to unaccounted Covid-19 cases as the state has no mechanism to track the positive patients.
“The real picture is difficult to gauge as a large number of people are using antigen testing kits at home which go unreported,” said Dr Shashank Joshi, member of the state Covid task force. “The next two weeks will be essential,” he said.
Dr Pradip Awate, state surveillance officer, said that as seen in the first and second wave, the virus gradually spread to other districts, including rural areas. “Once Mumbai and Pune reach their peak, the virus will spread to neighboring areas which flare up the state’s total cases,” he said.
Meanwhile, 412 resident doctors have contracted Covid-19 in the state.
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