While so far no exact cause of the surge is known, the government feels that Covid-inappropriate behaviour can be blamed for it.
To deal with the rise in patients requiring hospitalisation, the state government has asked private hospitals to set aside 80% of their beds for Covid patients.
The number of cases of coronavirus infection continues to rise as India recorded 23,285 cases, the highest in around 78 days, in a single day on Thursday. What is worrying is that the recovery rate has dropped to 96.86 per cent. And this is why lockdowns are making a comeback. Maharashtra has already announced lockdown in Nagpur City and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has said that stricter lockdown will be enforced to contain the spread of COVID-19. Not only Maharashtra, some other states like Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, and Gujarat continue to report a high number of fresh coronavirus cases. According to the Union Health Ministry data, at least eight states are showing an upward trajectory as far as fresh cases are concerned.
The only silver lining amid this rise in COVID-19 cases, in particular Maharashtra, is that no new strains have been detected. However, Dr VK Paul, Member (health), Niti Aayog said that the government is “very worried” about the prevailing situation in the state.
While so far no exact cause of the surge is known, the government feels that Covid-inappropriate behaviour can be blamed for it. The Centre recently said that ‘lack of fear for the coronavirus and pandemic fatigue’ may be leading to a sudden spurt in the number of coronavirus infections in Maharashtra.
According to Dr Mala Kaneria, Additional Professor and Unit Head at state-run Nair hospital, the case are spiking in Maharashtra mainly because people have gone into a kind of Covid fatigue.
“People are no more following Covid-appropriate behaviour which they should be following. They have led their guard down and not following social distancing norms, avoiding wearing masks, going to crowded places. They are in a way behaving as if the pandemic has gone, which is not the case. Also, there could some role of mutation but this cannot be said for sure unless we do detailed genomic sequencing of all the collected samples. Because viruses by nature keep on mutating,” Dr Mala Kaneria said.
She also feels that testing needs to be increased and after that contact tracing. “Even mild flue infections should be tested with RT-PCR preferably. This is important because these new variants, if at all they are there mainly cause increased transmissibility and milder infections.”
The surge in the number of cases in other states is not very surprising considering there were hardly any travel restrictions in place. People are freely travelling from one state to another. Despite the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, most states are not making screening for the infection mandatory for passengers coming from the state. So the rise in COVID-19 cases in other states could be directly related to Maharashtra.
It is only recently that Tamil Nadu made e-pass mandatory for overseas and domestic passengers. People travelling from other states, except Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and the neighbouring Puducherry, will be allowed entry in the southern state only if they will have an e-pass.
While so far Maharashtra has been a cause of concern, the sudden spike in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat has certainly set off alarm bells.