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Pune among five districts with high number of Covid-19 infections

“Extensive testing during this peak has increased the positivity rate,” said Dr Sanjay Pujari, expert member with the national Covid-19 task force.

By: Express News Service Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
Updated: August 3, 2021 9:06:54 am

AS THE state health department data indicates that Pune, Ahmednagar, Satara, Solapur and Sangli continue to account for a high number of cases and deaths, experts cited good amount of testing during this phase as one of the reasons for this rise in infection and fatality rates.

“Extensive testing during this peak has increased the positivity rate,” Dr Sanjay Pujari, expert member with the national Covid-19 task force told The Indian Express while commenting on the reasons for the long tail or high plateau of the pandemic in Pune district.

On August 2, total 4,869 new cases and 90 deaths were reported in Maharashtra. Pune circle, including Pune rural, Pune Municipal Corporation, Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, Solapur and Satara reported 1,574 new infections. Till date, Maharashtra has reported more than 63 lakh Covid-19 cases and 1.33 lakh deaths.

While Pune district till date has reported more than 10.58 lakh people recovering from Covid-19, the daily district data set on August 1 shows Pune rural continues to report a high number of cases. On Sunday, the new cases detected in Pune rural were 492, while areas under the PMC and the PCMC reported 256 and 190 cases each respectively.

The daily recovery, however, was higher than the case load. According to data from the district health department, as against 995 new infections on Sunday in Pune district, 1,256 patients had recovered. Around 20,000 samples are being tested daily at present.

“There is still a large susceptible population as the last sero survey indicated 58 per cent positivity in Maharashtra – the second lowest across Indian states,” he said. Apart from the lull and fatigue in complying with Covid-appropriate behaviour coupled with opening of lockdown like restrictions, the Delta variant of SARS-CoV2 virus is in circulation and linked with high transmission rates, the expert added.

While the pace of vaccinations has been unable to generate herd immunity rapidly, the good news is that at these rates, the healthcare is able to absorb the management of severe cases without much strain.

According to Dr A Banerjee, clinical epidemiologist, the reason also could be that for every positive RT-PCR test, there could be 20-30 cases that can go undetected. Triangulation of data rather than just counting cases, which are driven by the rate of testing, should give a more realistic picture, Dr Banerjee added. Also, one can feel a little reassured if hospital and ICU admissions are not showing rising trends, he said.

Dr Sanjeev Wavare, assistant medical officer of health, PMC, said the positivity rate in the city was around 3.5 per cent and an average of 300 new cases was detected daily. However, this is towards a declining trend, he said.

While authorities prefer to look at the district rates and positive cases/deaths before allowing Covid-19 relaxations, they have also urged people to immediately avail of treatment if they have symptoms.

Dr Vijay Natarajan, CEO of Symbiosis Hospital, said the delta variant is a far more transmissible and there is a dangerous assumption among some people who think if they are fully vaccinated, they would not transmit the virus. “A person can carry the virus in airway passages and can transmit it to others if he/she does not wear a mask,” he added.

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