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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Maharashtra: 12 districts see sharp rise in number of deaths in second wave

Sindhudurg, Nandurbar, Beed, Parbhani, Hingoli, Nanded, Amravati, Yavatmal, Chandrapur, Wardha, Washim and Gadchiroli saw the number of deaths double from the first to the second wave.

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai |
May 27, 2021 1:48:55 am
A health worker tries to adjust the oxygen mask of a COVID-19 patient at the BKC field hospital in Mumbai, India, Thursday (AP)

The second COVID 19 wave has hit 12 districts in Maharashtra the hardest with a sharp increase in the number of deaths as compared to the first wave.

Sindhudurg, Nandurbar, Beed, Parbhani, Hingoli, Nanded, Amravati, Yavatmal, Chandrapur, Wardha, Washim and Gadchiroli saw the number of deaths double from the first to the second wave.

In contrast, in the five districts of Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Satara and Sangli, the number of deaths halved despite a massive surge in infection. These districts, in order to deal with the first wave in which they were badly hit, had managed to improve clinical care and establish a standard treatment protocol.

Dr Avinash Supe, chairman of the state death audit committee, said, “The number of deaths are higher in districts that have no medical college or have weak health infrastructure.”

Oxygen shortage and infrastructure inadequacy, said Supe, had led to a rise in the number of deaths this year, especially in rural areas.

“Several regions saw a limited spread last year. This year, when cases suddenly rose in those areas, the infrastructure was unprepared to handle the wave.”

For instance, tribal dominated Gadchiroli saw an over three-fold rise in deaths from 87 in 2020 to 316 in 2021. The number of cases doubled from 8,507 last year to 19,148 in 2021. (The numbers reflect data from March to December in 2020, and from January to May 24, 2021)

Doctors in Gadchiroli said it is difficult for tribals to get access to hospitals, specially in Bhamragad and Aheri, located at the southern end of the district. While health centres are located at a distance from the villages, “Covid fear” has deterred tribals from undergoing tests.

Rural districts such as Nandurbar, Wardha, Gadchiroli, Hingoli, Parbhani and Sindhudurg, which recorded less than 10,000 cases in 2020, noted a rise in infections – between 13,000 to 50,000 – this year. But the number of deaths in these districts are higher in proportion to other districts that noted an even higher caseload.

For instance, Pune reported an increase from 3.7 lakh in 2020 to 6.28 lakh cases in 2021. The number of deaths in 2020 were 7,767 while 3,730 have died in 2012. Mumbai’s Covid-19 caseload grew from 2.9 lakh last year to 4.04 lakh in 2021 until now. The number of deaths reported was 11,116 and 3,497, respectively.

In Thane, 5,577 people died last year. This year, the figure is 2,385 so far despite a higher caseload.

Satara saw 1,763 deaths last year while 993 people have died so far in 2021.

In Sangli, there were 1,769 deaths in 2020. This year, there have been 926 deaths until now. All these districts saw a massive spike in caseload.

For the state overall, the fatality rate, which was 2.56 per cent last year, is 1.08 per cent this year. In nine months of 2020, the state had recorded 19.32 lakh cases and 49,521 deaths. In five months this year, it has recorded 36.69 lakh cases and 39,691 deaths.

While nine districts reported over 3 per cent fatality rate last year, the highest fatality rate so far this year has been recorded in Kolhapur at 2.89 per cent. Buldhana has recorded the lowest death rate at 0.38 per cent.

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