February 6, 2021 11:12:13 pm
WHILE the Covid-19 case curve in most parts of the state is dipping, five districts in Maharashtra are witnessing an increase in the number of cases.
Of these, four are in Vidarbha — Amravati, Yavatmal, Akola and Wardha. The fifth one is Nandurbar.
A state government bulletin termed these as “districts deserving special attention”. The bulletin, dated February 4, stated that the five districts registered the highest growth rate in number of Covid-19 cases for the week before the issuance of the bulletin – Amravati 3.15 per cent, Yavatmal 2.8 per cent, Akola 2.24 per cent, Nandurbar 2.25 per cent and Wardha 2.16 per cent.
Amravati Divisional Commissioner Piyush Singh told The Indian Express, “The rise in Covid-19 cases in the three districts of Amravati division — Amravati, Akola and Yavatmal — can be attributed to two factors. We have undertaken intensive testing for teachers after schools were reopened about a fortnight ago. This was compulsory testing and we have found a large number of teachers and their contacts… to be Corona positive. Our daily number of tests have also increased from about 1,000 to 1,500. The other factor contributing to the increase is the increasing number of people with mild fever due to weather change. They all are compulsorily tested for Covid-19 and many of them have tested positive.”
He, however, added, “Most of these were asymptomatic cases and did not require hospitalisation.”
Singh further said, “We had noticed similar increase in cases during the Gram Panchayat elections too. It had later tapered down. We hope the same will happen after the next few days.”
Wardha Collector Vivek Bhimanwar cited “less herd immunity” in the district as reason for increasing number of positive cases. “Wardha was one of the last districts to be affected by Covid-19. So, herd immunity also set in late. A sample survey conducted by the Sevagram Medical College shows that only 24 per cent people have developed herd immunity in the district. This is the likely reason for increasing number of cases,” he said.
Bhimanwar said the government should adopt a graded approach while undertaking mass vaccination, whenever it begins. “It should be more intensive in districts with less herd immunity. I have already informally suggested this to the state government,” he said.
Both Singh and Bhimanwar said that with everything opening up and people becoming less careful about observing preventive norms like wearing masks and avoiding crowding, the number of Covid-19 cases was expected to rise further. They also pointed out that the drop in positive case numbers was commensurate with voluntary testing. “The numbers will go up when compulsory testing is more,” said Singh.
Meanwhile, two of the five districts deserving attention, in terms of the weekly death rate, are Bhandara (7.69 per cent) and Gadchiroli (7.32 per cent) from Vidarbha. Among districts deserving attention in terms of the weekly positivity rate are two districts from Vidarbha, Nagpur (8.43 per cent) and Amravati (8.91 per cent).
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