May 12, 2021 11:53:11 pm
In a positive development, according to the state Health department’s new projections for active caseload in Maharashtra, the number in Pune district is expected to come down to 60,715 by May 23.
In an earlier projection on May 6, the state Health department had pegged Pune’s active caseload at 1.31 lakh by May 16. According to the state data, till May 11, there were a total of 95,731 active Covid-19 cases in Pune district. The earlier projection had also estimated that Pune would face a shortage of 4,952 oxygen-supported beds and 191 ICU beds.
But the present analysis estimates no shortfall by May 23, and the city will have 41,19 oxygen-supported beds and 1992 ICU beds by then.
According to the projection, other districts which will have a high caseload by May 16, such as Nashik with estimated 78,686 cases, will see the number drop to 34,240 by May 23. The projection has also indicated a drop in the active caseload in Mumbai (estimated 37,653 cases) and Thane (17,428 cases) by May 23.
However, the projection has a cautionary note for some districts — Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Kolhapur, Satara , Sangli and Chandrapur – which are projected to see shortage of oxygen-supported beds and ICU beds by May 23.
Ratnagiri is estimated to face shortage of 1,051 oxygen beds and 157 ICU beds while Sangli is projected to face shortage of as many as 10,706 isolation beds, 333 oxygen beds and 87 ICU beds. Satara will also face an estimated shortage of 411 oxygen beds and 236 ICU beds, as per the projection.
Till May 10, Maharashtra had reported 5.9 lakh active Covid-19 cases, of which 25,427 were admitted to ICUs across various hospitals, and 8,292 patients were on ventilator support.
State Additional Chief Secretary Dr Pradeepkumar Vyas told The Indian Express that lockdown-like restrictions were the major reasons for the decline in the active caseload.
State Surveillance Officer Dr Pradeep Awate said it is likely that there has been a reduction in the population that is susceptible to the infection, either due to prior exposure in the first wave, or during the second wave. “An increasing number of people are now getting vaccinated and all this leads to decreasing numbers of those who could be susceptible to the infection,” said Dr Awate.
Pune District Collector Dr Rajesh Deshmukh also pointed out that lockdown-like restrictions have helped bring down the positivity rate and cut the chain of transmission to a great extent.
“According to our current estimates, at least 20 per cent of patients admitted to hospitals in Pune are from other districts,” said Dr Deshmukh. He said any decision on extending the lockdown-like restrictions in Pune will be taken at a meeting chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday.
Dr Shashank Joshi, an expert member of the state Covid task force , told The Indian Express that it was important to ensure that the positivity rate of each district was less than 5 per cent. The Covid positivity rate of many districts in Maharashtra is still above 10 per cent. In Mumbai, where the positivity rate was between 28 and 30 per cent in the first week of April, it is currently hovering around 8 per cent. “We absolutely cannot lower our guard and ensure that testing doesn’t drop drastically,” said Dr Joshi.
He further emphasised, “Everyone should be vaccinated. The second dose, even if delayed, should be given.”
Dr Joshi said the easing of restrictions should be guided by science and strict scientific parameters. “There should be some mandatory punishment for lack of adherence to Covid- appropriate behaviour, as we have seen in the aftermath of rapid unlocking,” he said.
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