Rural areas with 6.11 lakh Covid-19 cases account for 37 per cent of the infections compared to urban areas with 10.35 lakh cases, totalling 62.7 per cent of the total burden in the state.
The penetration of the virus is gradually increasing in rural Maharashtra, which until July accounted for only 16.5 per cent of the cases. The share rose to 34.4 per cent by September 20.
The share of rural areas in the number of deaths has also increased quickly. Until July 20, 12.8 per cent of total Covid-19 deaths were reported from rural areas. This rose to 29.6 per cent by September 20 and 35 per cent this month.
Public health department data shows that while 15,186 deaths occurred in rural Maharashtra since the pandemic began, the figure for urban areas was 28,018 until October 26. Rural stretches of Raigad, Jalgaon and Satara as well as parts outside Pune, Kolhapur and Sangli and rural Thane accounted for more than 800 deaths each.
Though rural areas account for 37 per cent of the total Covid-19 load, their share in deaths is only 35 per cent. While case fatality rate in rural areas stands at 2.4 per cent, it is slightly higher in urban areas at 2.7 per cent.
“Lifestyle diseases may play a role in reduced case fatality. Urban population is more prone to cardiac problems, hypertension and diabetes. Lifestyle diseases are less common in rural areas,” said Dr Avinash Supe, who is part of the state-appointed death audit committee.
State officials attributed the overall dip in fresh Covid-19 cases in the state to high temperatures in October and possibility of exposure to virus by a large population. “Once antibodies start to decay in a few months and winter sets in, there is possibility of another spike in cases,” a senior official said.
Number of daily fresh cases have reduced from over 20,000 in September end to less than 10,000 now. On Monday, 54,838 tests were conducted and 5,363 people tested positive. In all, Maharashtra has reported 16.54 lakh cases and 43,463 deaths till now due to Covid-19.
The number of tests being conducted has come down from 70,000 to 80,000 to below 60,000 in the last two days. While the medical education department intended to reach 1.5 lakh daily tests by now, the state is performing only half of the target.
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