Pune district accounted for 20 per cent of active Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra over the last 10 days, according to a report by the state Health Department. Pune also had the highest number of cases among the five ‘districts of concern’, where the weekly Covid-19 positivity rate continues to be higher than the state average.
From August 16 to 25, the state reported 45,020 new Covid-19 cases, of which 31,956 new Covid infections were from only five districts – Pune (9,094) Ahmednagar (6,388), Satara (6,046), Solapur (5,618) and Sangli (4,810).
Dr Shashank Joshi, an expert on the state Covid-19 task force, told The Indian Express that all five districts of concern need to continue with an aggressive ‘test, track and treat’ strategy. “If these five districts can be aggressively handled over the next two weeks, then we can say that Maharashtra has officially ended the second wave,” he said.
According to experts, the biggest challenge is that the Delta variant of the virus is in circulation and even asymptomatic patients need to self isolate. However, there is too much crowding in some public places. “The virus is still circulating and that’s a known fact… while opening up was a necessity, people are not bothered about Covid-appropriate behaviour,” Dr Subhash Salunkhe, state technical advisor on Covid-19, told The Indian Express.
He, however, said it was fortunate that the virus has not mutated, otherwise a third wave of infections could be expected in September. “The virus will infect vulnerable groups and the administration needs to understand we are on the brink of a localised outbreak,” said Dr Salunkhe.
According to the state Health Department report, the state’s Covid positivity rate in the week from August 19-25 declined to 2.49%, as compared to the previous week when it was 2.90%. However, in Pune, the Covid positivity rate in the week from August 19 to 25 increased to 5.62%, slightly higher than the positivity rate in the previous week of August 12-18, when it was 5.10%.
The weekly Covid-19 positivity rate in Sangli was 4.66%, Ahmednagar – 4.63% and Satara – 4.44%, which are all above the state’s weekly Covid positivity rate.
Till August 24, there were 24,727 people hospitalised with Covid-19 infection, of which 9, 293 were critical. At least 3,568 patients were admitted to intensive care units across different hospitals, according to the report.