In a meeting between the central government and the state government on Wednesday, the Centre said Maharashtra could reach 11 lakh active Covid-19 cases by April 30 if the surge continues uncontrolled and no restrictions are put in place.
Maharashtra’s hospital infrastructure, including oxygen supply, ICU beds and ventilators, is fast approaching saturation, state government officials have said. In a meeting between the central government and the state government on Wednesday, the Centre said Maharashtra could reach 11 lakh active Covid-19 cases by April 30 if the surge continues uncontrolled and no restrictions are put in place.
On Wednesday, 60.9 per cent of 20,519 ICUs were full in public health facilities, leaving only 8,011 ICUs. Of 9,347 ventilators, 3,176 are occupied and of 62,304 oxygen beds, 32.7 per cent beds (20,419) are occupied. The oxygen requirement will double by the end of this month, according to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials.
“The latest restrictions that have been implemented since Tuesday will show effect in next few days. We expect the peak in Maharashtra to come after two weeks or so. Lack of Covid-appropriate behaviour in January and February led to the surge we are seeing now,” said Health Secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas.
The state health department has estimated its maximum active cases at 9 lakh by this month’s end.
Currently, at least 40 per cent of 4.60 lakh active cases are hospitalised. “We urge people to stay at home to reduce the Covid burden, there is no need to panic but unnecessary movement must be restricted,” Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said while interacting with media.
Health Minister Rajesh Tope said, “It is a difficult time but people need to cooperate”. He added that the Centre has agreed to divert oxygen from other states if the need arises. The state’s oxygen requirement grew from 777 MT until last week to 850 MT on Wednesday, inching closer to full production capacity at 1,250 MT per day.
The figures for Maharashtra are grim. Most districts and cities in the state have gone beyond their first peak of last September and cases have continue to climb. Mumbai’s first peak was 34,259 total active cases, but this time the number of active cases has reached 79,368 as on Tuesday night. Pune’s first peak was 82,172 and now it is 84,309. Aurangabad jumped from 10,058 to 17818 cases. The worst rise has been for Nashik — from 21,746 maximum active cases last year to 57,372 now— and Nagpur, from 38,388 to 61,127 cases.
The death rate has fallen from 1.69 per cent in January to 0.55 per cent this month, but in absolute numbers, the daily deaths have risen from 40-50 to 200-300.
On Wednesday, Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte said other districts will be directed to follow Mumbai’s system of bed allotment through ward-level war rooms.
The state is also collaborating with the Centre to send more Covid-19 samples for genome sequencing from Mumbai, Thane, Nagpur and Pune. “Samples will be sent from each district to get a district specific genome profile,” said Dr Shashank Joshi, member of the Covid-19 task force.
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