Maharashtra Blow Past 1 Million Covid Cases, Rivaling Russia

Maharashtra’s share is around 27% of the total active cases, which in terms of absolute numbers is more than 2.71 lakhs.

Maharashtra on Friday became the first and only state or province in the world to report more than a million cases of Covid-19, putting it on a par with Russia in the pandemic.

The state is on pace to blow past the 1-million mark as infections have been rising some 20,000 a day recently. Maharashtra, if it were a country, would now rival Russia for the world’s fourth-highest caseload.

With 96,551 new cases, India’s coronavirus tally past 45 lakh in the last 24 hours. India is likely to hit 5 million cases in coming days, behind only the US.

Most of India’s cases are in Maharashtra. However, infections are rising rapidly in states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh, together these states account for 62% of the active cases. Maharashtra’s share is around 27% of the total active cases, which in terms of absolute numbers is more than 2.71 lakhs.

There are 9,43,480 active cases of Covid-19 in the country which comprises 20.68 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated. The country had recorded over 95,000 cases on Wednesday and Thursday. India’s Covid-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23 and it went past 40 lakh on September 5. According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 5,40,97,975 samples have been tested up to September 10 with 11,63,542 samples being tested on Friday.

Total 76,271 deaths, Maharashtra has reported the maximum at 28,282 followed by 8,154 in Tamil Nadu, 6,937 in Karnataka, 4,702 in Andhra Pradesh, 4,666 in Delhi, 4,206 in Uttar Pradesh, 3,771 in West Bengal, 3,164 in Gujarat and 2,149 in Punjab.

Yet Maharashtra’s authorities are unable to ease many restrictions in the state. Public transport, malls and other businesses remain depressed.

Resuming public transport in the city this month would lead to a second wave, which would be “difficult to manage”, says a research paper submitted to Mumbai authorities this week.

Indeed, Maharashtra’s partial reopening of factories in recent months, local festivals and lockdown fatigue help to explain the state’s Covid-19 surge, local health officials told Reuters.

“People have tired after spending months at home and they’re stepping out despite knowing they could get infected,” said Subhash Chavhan, a surgeon in Satara district. “They’re no longer taking coronavirus seriously.”

The state’s initial reopening, starting in July, accelerated the spread to previously less-hit rural areas, said Dr Pradip Awate, Maharashtra’s disease surveillance officer.

Tiny Rajewadi village did not have a single confirmed coronavirus case until mid-August. Recently, one in every four was testing positive for the virus.

Also, contributing to Maharashtra’s infections was the 11-day Ganesh Utsav last month, a festival that sees huge numbers of people travelling to and from their hometowns. “Before the Ganesh festival, there were on an average of 60 new cases daily in the district. Now we’re recording more than 150,” said an official in the coastal district of Ratnagiri.

Covid-19 is also deadlier in Maharashtra, where it has killed 2.85 per cent of people with confirmed infections, well above the national mortality rate of 1.68 per cent. Maharashtra’s death toll, over 28,000, accounts for 37 per cent of India’s total.

Rajesh Tope, Maharashtra’s health minister, defended the higher caseload saying the state has been doing more tests than others and is being more transparent, too.

“We’ve never tried to hide cases just because they are rising,” said Tope, adding that Maharashtra has slashed the maximum private labs can charge for the more accurate RT-PCR testing to Rs 1,200, barely a quarter of the national cap.

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