Rate of increase in coronavirus cases tripled in Maha in over one month

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By Nikhil Deshmukh Mumbai, Mar 24 (PTI) The rate of increase in coronavirus cases in Maharashtra between February 14 to March 23 was three times that recorded in the previous four months, data shows.

After a steady decline since October, the new cases surged noticeably since February 14. On March 20, Maharashtra reported over 30,000 new cases, the highest since the pandemic began.

Between February 14 and March 23, in the span of 37 days, 4,68,748 cases were added in the state, taking the caseload to 25,33,026. On average, 12,668 cases were added daily.

In preceding months, it had taken 119 days for the addition of over 4.68 lakh cases. Between October 18, 2020 and February 13, as many as 4,68,897 new cases were reported, at average daily rate of 3,940.

Maharashtra had gram panchayat elections in some 12,000 villages in January, followed by big political gatherings. Some health experts blamed the later surge in cases on these events.

'People continued flouting safety norms and during the same period the virus started mutating and became more infectious,' a senior health official said.

'The new strain is more infectious. We have to find out more about the strain and how it responds to the ongoing vaccination drive,' he added.

The average daily fatality count, however, is lower since February 14 compared to the earlier period.

The COVID-19 death toll increased by 9,414 between October 18 to February 13, at daily average of 79.

It went up by 2,060 up to March 23, with daily average of 55, the data shows.

Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on Wednesday the situation in Maharashtra and Punjab was of 'grave concern'.

'Top five districts' in Maharashtra where high number of cases are being reported are Pune, Nagpur, Mumbai, Thane and Nashik, he said. PTI ND KRK KRK