NEW DELHI: In a day, on October 8, Bengaluru registered a whopping 5,121 Covid-19 cases. And it was the third day in a row that the city had ringed in over 5,000 new cases. The constantly surging rise of the infectious disease in the city is worrying for two reasons, say experts. The country though is now only another nation, apart from the USA, where there are over 7 million confirmed cases while the number of deaths has reached 1,08,334.
The situation, however, seems to be panning out differently in cities. For example, while the case trajectory in Delhi, Pune and Thane seems to be slowing down, many cities such as Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kolkata continue to face the heat of infectious disease. As of now, with 3,14,118 confirmed Covid cases, Pune tops the chart among cities but going by the trend for the last several weeks, Bengaluru — at the third position now — is set to topple the city for the not so coveted spot.
Given the trajectory of cases being recorded every day, Bengaluru may be the city worst-affected by Covid at present, not only in India but perhaps in the world. Over the last week, while Pune has reported about less than 2,000 fresh cases every day, the number of cases reported in Bengaluru every 24 hours stands at over 4,600.
The only saving grace for the city seems to be the comparative low death count till now which now stands at 3,320. But on an average the city has been witnessing 39 deaths every day over the past 7 days—not very far from average 47 deaths being reported in Mumbai daily. Mumbai which has been seeing a surge of cases since April-May is also not showing a clear sign of substantial slowdown and the populous city, which has 2,27, 276 confirmed cases so far, is registering close to 2,800 new cases every day even now.
It is for this reason that experts point that talk of a national level peak may be “meaningless.” “High-burden cities like Pune, Delhi and Thane have seen a steady decline in cases but larger cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai & Kolkota along with several smaller cities are still seeing new daily highs,” said health economist Dr Rijo M John. “This indicates that the spread of coronavirus is still at an early stage in several places across the country.” Some others, on the other hand, linked the progression of the disease to herd immunity in cities.
“Many cities are now showing gradual stabilization with gradual decline. Also, serosurveys in many cities have shown presence of antibody levels higher than cities in most other countries,” said epidemiologist Dr Amitabh Banerjee. “Perhaps India may attain herd immunity earlier than most countries, due to the advantage of their younger and leaner population.” He also cautioned that cities may perhaps experience a spike in cases when normal activities resume. “As people will tend to be younger we may have a rising number of cases but fewer deaths,” he said.