New Delhi | February 25, 2021 11:02:10 am
India coronavirus numbers explained: With 8,807 new cases on Wednesday, Maharashtra seems to be fast racing back towards its worst phase in this pandemic. The numbers of detected positive cases on Wednesday was the highest since October 20.
The state now has the highest number of active cases in the country, thanks to the steep rise in the last one week, and also the fact that Kerala has been slowly, but steadily, slowing down. Maharashtra now has more than 59,000 active cases, out of the country’s total of 1.51 lakh, while Kerala has slipped to second position with 53,000 active cases. The state with the third highest number of active cases is Karnataka, which has just about 6,000 of them.
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The positive cases from just Mumbai and Pune are now similar to what the entire state was discovering about three weeks ago. Both the megacities reported more than 1,000 cases. Pune alone contributed about 1,500 new cases.
But the surge is not limited to these two cities alone. Kalyan, Nashik, Ahmednagar, Jalgaon, Satara, Aurgangabad, Nagpur, Amrawati and Akola are all reporting big increases in positive cases. In fact, like Pune and Mumbai, Nagpur too reported more than 1,000 cases on Wednesday.
The more worrisome factor, of course, is that this surge would eventually lead to an increase in the number of deaths as well. The death numbers already seem to be on a rise. These had come down to between 30 and 40 every day in the last month. In the last two days, however, more than 130 deaths have been reported from the state, over 80 of which reported on Wednesday. These are not deaths from the same day, however. Many of them are from previous days, some even from the past few weeks, because of the time lag in collating the data. But weekly averages give a good indication of the trends.
On Wednesday, more than 16,700 new cases, and 138 deaths were reported from across the country. Both these numbers are respective highest in almost a month.
🚨 16,738 #COVID19 cases detected in 🇮🇳 on Wednesday
🦠#Maharashtra reported over 8,800 cases, highest since Oct 18
🦠 Active cases rise by over 4,000; there are now over 1.51 lakh active cases in India
🦠138 deaths on Wednesday
🦠Kerala reported 4,106 cases
— Express Explained (@ieexplained) February 25, 2021
The current situation in Maharashtra should be a warning to people and governments in other states as well. There is nothing that was happening in Maharashtra which is not already happening in other parts of the country. Testing has gone down, mask adoption is not very high, physical distancing is hardly being followed. It is Maharashtra today, it could be any other state tomorrow. Some other states are already showing signs of a surge, though their numbers are comparatively small.
As scientists and experts have been repeating throughout, this virus is extremely unpredictable, and the epidemic is not yet over. Governments would be reluctant to bring a complete lockdown, and we have seen that partial lockdowns or restrictions are not very effective, if people do not strictly follow the prescribed norms.
The surge has prompted some government response. The testing numbers are beginning to go up again. In the last two days, about eight lakh samples have been tested across the country. This level was not reached in the last one month. As fewer and fewer cases were being discovered, the number of tests had come down by more than half. At its peak, India had been testing more than 1.4 million samples a day. In January, this number had fallen to between six and seven lakh.
The increase in testing is evident in Maharashtra as well. The testing numbers had fallen well below 50,000 a day, but in the last few days, more than 60,000 samples were tested. On Wednesday, over 80,000 samples were tested in the state. In the short term, at least, the higher testing numbers would result in the detection in greater number of people, which will see the state numbers going up. In the longer run, however, it would prevent the infection from spreading to other people, and thus help slow down the spread.
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