MUMBAI: The surge in COVID-19 cases in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra in the past few days is not the "ripple in the first wave" but a "mighty scary second wave", a top health official said on Wednesday.
Speaking during a discussion on news channel NDTV 24x7, civic-run KEM Hospital's Dean Hemant Deshmukh said the case numbers were now getting scary.
"Of late, we realise that this (surge) is not a ripple in the first wave, but a mighty scary second wave itself, which is starting," Deshmukh told the television channel.
Deshmukh said the mortality rate was less this time, and it may be because the virulence is low.
"A virus is likely to mutate all the time and so this mutation is definitely causing a different kind of coronavirus and a different kind of COVID-19 presentation altogether in March, 2021," he said.
However, Om Shrivastav, part of the state government appointed task force on the outbreak, said it was difficult to say whether the recent surge was the onset of the pandemic's second wave, and coming to a conclusion would require scientific calculations based on several outbreak factors.
He told PTI that people must continue to strictly adhere to COVID-19 norms.
Incidentally, the Centre, in a letter to state chief secretary Sitaram Kunte had said that "Maharashtra is in the beginning of a second wave of COVlD-19 pandemic" and had asked it to plan for a "worst-case scenario" with sufficient lead time.
The state reported as many as 23,179 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, which is the highest single-day infection count so far in 2021, a health official said.
This is the sixth highest one-day spike of infection cases in the state since the pandemic began last year.
With these new cases, Maharashtra's overall infection count rose to 23,70,507, the official said.
The state had reported its first COVID-19 case in March last year.
The daily number of cases had started rising gradually and in September last year, more than one lakh cases were added in Maharashtra within a span of merely a week.
On September 11 last year, the state had reported 24,886 cases, while on September 17, a total of 24,619 cases were added.
The third, fourth and fifth highest figures were reported on September 9 (23,816), September 6 (23,350) and September 10 (23,446).
The number of new single-day cases started gradually going down by the end of last year, although the count started witnessing an upward trend once against from mid-February this year.
With 84 deaths reported on Wednesday, the state's fatality count jumped to 53,080, the official said.
As many as 9,138 patients were discharged from hospitals during the day, taking the recovery count to 21,63,391.
There are 1,52,760 active cases in the state at present.
Nagpur city reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases during the day with 2,698, followed by 2,612 in Pune and 2,377 in Mumbai city.
Pune division, which comprises civic bodies of Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad, as well as districts including Pune, Solapur and Satara, reported 5,268 cases during the day, which is the highest for the day across all the divisions in the state.
Mumbai's COVID-19 tally increased to 3,49,974 and eight deaths took the fatality count to 11,551.
Mumbai division reported 4,811 new cases and 21 deaths, which pushed its overall caseload to 7,71,389 and death toll to 19,995.
Nashik division has so far reported at 3,27,190 cases and 5,399 deaths, Pune division 5,71,786 cases and 11,887 deaths, Kolhapur division 1,21,608 cases and 4,092 deaths, Aurangabad division 95,053 cases and 2,127 deaths, Latur division 94,462 cases and 2,576 deaths, Akola division 1,23,095 cases and 1,941 deaths, Nagpur division 2,64,778 cases and 4,971 deaths.
With 1,19,973 COVID-19 tests carried out on Wednesday, the overall test count rose to 1,78,35,495.
There are 6,71,620 people in home quarantine while 6,738 are in institutional quarantine.
Maharashtra's COVID-19 figures are as follows: Positive cases: 23,70,507, new cases: 23,179, death toll: 53,080, discharged: 21,63,391, active cases: 1,52,760, people tested so far: 1,78,35,495.
India is headed for a second peak of coronavirus, the government confirmed on Wednesday.
The difference this time is that it will not be the metros but tier-2 and tier-3 cities closer to the rural areas that will be the worst hit.
“We are seeing an emerging second peak,” said Dr V K Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog, who also heads the national task force on Covid-19. Over the past two weeks, small towns across 70 districts have seen a steep rise of over 150% in new cases, with Ratlam (Madhya Pradesh) recording a shocking 500% spike. Fifty-five districts in 17 states have seen a 100-150% spike in the same time period."
The alarming statistics also came up during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with chief ministers on CMs to stop the ‘emerging second peak’ with decisive steps including strict enforcement of Covid protocols.
“Wherever necessary, micro-containment zones should be declared without hesitation,” he said, adding, “If we don’t stop Covid right now, there could be a nationwide outbreak.”
According to the details shared by the Union health ministry, India now has over 2.34 lakh active Covid-19 cases. has been a 43% week-on-week increase in cases and 37% rise in deaths.
Data show that Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu continue to report a high number of daily new cases.
Together, these states accounted for 71.10% of the 28,903 new cases reported on Tuesday. Overall, there are eight states where the pandemic graph is on a rising trajectory.
(With ENS Inputs)