The coronavirus situation in Maharashtra, where the infection count has crossed the 17 lakh-mark so far, appears to be improving gradually as the last one lakh cases were added over a period of 16 days as compared to the earlier average period of less than 10 days. While the case count had crossed the 16-lakh mark on October 20, the infection tally reached 17,03,444 on November 5.
According to officials, this is the third slowest growth period as far as addition of one lakh cases is concerned since the outbreak began in March this year. In the state, which remains the hardest-hit in the country by the pandemic, the number of single-day infection cases has come down in the range of 4,000 to 7,000 in the last couple of weeks after witnessing 20,000-plus daily cases for a sustained period in September.
Officials have attributed this decline in daily cases to the tracing, tracking and testing methods adopted by various government agencies and increased awareness among people. "After the outbreak began, the first one lakh cases in the state were reported between March 9 and June 12. It means that it took 94 days to reach the first one lakh-mark. But the two lakh-mark was recorded in the next 23 days after that as the infection spread further," a senior health department official said.
"Since then, from three lakh cases to the 16 lakh- mark, maximum time taken for adding every one lakh cases was less than 10 days," he said. "Since the state reached the two lakh cases mark, this is the first time it has taken 16 days to add one lakh cases.
It is indeed an achievement of the staff and awareness drive undertaken by various agencies in slowing down the infection spread," the official added. There was a time in September when Maharashtra reported more than 20,000 cases on a daily basis.
For instance, the case count jumped from eight lakh to nine lakh in just five days. The state had reported eight lakh cases on September 1 and it reached the nine lakh-mark on September 6, the data shared by the health department shows. "But over the last couple of weeks, the state has been reporting 4,000 to 7,000 cases daily, mainly due to its lowered prevalence. The tracing, tracking and testing method adopted by the state government has been effective in curbing the spread.
"Besides that, people have also grown conscious as they are taking necessary precautions. It has helped in slowing down the pace," the official said. State Health Minister Rajesh Tope, however, said, "It is just the first indication of putting a check on the spread of COVID-19 cases. We need to bring down the mortality rate as well as bring back life to routine so that people can perform their duties with ease. We will continue with our current testing and treating drive as it is still necessary." Dr Sanjay Oak, who heads the state task force for COVID-19 said, "The winter season poses another threat. It is routine that cough, cold and fever cases increase in winter season, but this time everyone must be careful before discarding similar symptoms as normal fever." "If anyone catches cold, cough or feels weakness, the person should visit a physician and undergo proper medical checking," he said.
The coronavirus tally in the state till Friday night was 17,10,314 as it added 5,027 new cases during the day. As many as 15,62,342 people have recovered from the infection so far and the number of active cases is 1,02,099. The virus has so far claimed 44,965 lives in the state.