May 19, 2021 3:48:46 am
Every fifth person in Maharashtra has either been exposed to coronavirus or received vaccination, data from the health department shows.
Maharashtra’s population is estimated to be 12 crore, of which 2 crore have been administered the first vaccine dose and 54 lakh have contracted the infection, providing 20 per cent of the population some level of immunity.
On Tuesday the state recorded 28,438 new Covid-19 cases, and its death toll touched 83,777 with 679 more deaths reported.
As Maharashtra’s Covid curve slides down, data shows the peak of the second wave has plateaued longer than the first wave. In the first wave, last September the plateau lasted a week, in the second wave this year it lasted for over three weeks.
During the first peak, Maharashtra crossed 20,000 cases on September 5, touched the peak by September 11 at 24,886 cases, and by September 24, cases had quickly dipped below 20,000.
During the second wave, the state crossed 60,000 cases on April 11, reached the peak by April 18 with 68,631 cases and continued to hover over 60,000 cases till May 6, stretching the plateau for 26 days.
“The infection load was higher this time, the mutated virus was more transmissible. These factors took the state longer to come out of the second wave,” said Dr Archana Patil, director of family welfare in the Directorate of Health Services.
“We need to further investigate why the second wave persisted longer, and what role the mutated variant (B.1.617) and vaccination played. Vaccination began in January and by March, when cases started rising across the state, at least a small population had received its first dose. How vaccination impacted new infections is yet to be seen,” said state epidemiologist Dr Pradeep Awate.
Patil said they expect to see an impact of vaccination when over 70 per cent of the population is immunised.
“And that too both doses. That will take time,” she said. On Tuesday the state received 2 lakh vaccine doses for its immunisation drive.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has reported reinfection rate at 4.5 per cent. In Maharashtra, state officials said the reinfection rate hovers between 3 per cent to 4 per cent.
“Mutation appears to be the driving force in the second wave, but it seems that once infected, most people are protected from second infection,” Awate said.
Maharashtra has five laboratories and five tertiary care hospitals authorised to collect samples for genome sequencing. Each centre is drawing 15 samples every fortnight, and in a month Maharashtra is collecting at least 300 samples for genome sequencing.
Awate said they are collecting and sending samples of patients from clusters, those with long Covid symptoms, those with reinfection and those reporting breakthrough infections after vaccination.
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