In Mumbai, biggest surge in 7 months

Mumbai recorded 1,333 cases on Tuesday, a steep rise from 809 infections reported a day ago. This is the highest one-day surge in the city since May 26, when 1,352 cases were registered.

Mumbai also accounted for 63.3% of state’s tally of 2,172 Covid cases on Tuesday. Of the 32,369 tests conducted in the city, 1,333 were positive, which pushed the positivity rate up to 4.11%.

In the last 28 days, the daily Covid-19 tally has increased by 1,134% in the financial capital. Active cases have gone up from 1,904 to 5,803.

Although most of the patients are mildly symptomatic, doctors indicated that the sudden surge could be attributed to a possible third wave or spread of the new variant Omicron among the community.

Dr Shashank Joshi, member of the state Covid-19 task force, said, “It will take another two weeks to confirm the speculation about a third wave. But there are some epidemiological factors that are leading to the rise in cases. As the sero prevalence is high in Mumbai, there is a possibility that it is not Delta derivatives but another ‘variant of concern’ present in the crowd,” he said.

He said that in the first wave, the doubling rate was 12 days (706 to 1367), in the second wave it was 20 days (683 to 1325), and now it is only 4 days (683 to 1377).

Nearly 90% of the current Covid-19 cases are from highrise buildings in the city. The A ward, that covers South Mumbai localities like Fort and Colaba, is recording the highest seven-day spike at 0.18%, which is higher than the city’s average of 0.09%.

“We haven’t noticed any significant surges in slums. Most of the recent patients have contracted Covid-19 in violation of Covid-appropriate behaviour,” said Dr Mangala Gomare, executive health officer, BMC. “We are recording 4-5 cluster infections in a family when they participated in weddings, functions or parties.”

With an eye on Omicron, BMC has been conducting stringent surveillance of international fliers and tracing close contacts of infected passengers.

“With the New Year around the corner, footfall of international passengers has increased, and with it the number of positive cases has also surged. This is also contributing to the rise in cases,” said Suresh Kakani, Additional Commissioner, BMC.

Despite imposing Section 144, people have been gathering in large numbers in public places. The issue was discussed in the last state Covid task force meeting.

“We don’t know what is causing the spike in cases, so people need to be more careful and avoid crowded places. If such a high number of cases can be recorded in Mumbai, where 100% of the population is partially and 70% is fully vaccinated, then it is concerning,” said Dr Gautam Bhansali, in-charge of Covid-19 private beds.

Maharashtra recorded a 52.3% hike in daily Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, as cases rose from 1,426 to 2,172.

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