Maharashtra Crosses China’s COVID Tally; State Prepares for Unlock

Maharashtra Crosses China’s COVID Tally; State Prepares for Unlock

4 min read

On Monday, 8 June, there are 125381 active COVID-19 cases in India and Maharashtra’s corona cases stood at 85,975, which is more than 36 percent of the national tally,

In fact, on Sunday, 7 June, the state surpassed China’s tally of 83,036 confirmed cases. This is concerning as China’s Wuhan was the epicenter and origin of the virus, and while it has moved to contain the outbreak, India is still hit hard.

The deaths in the state as of today sit at 3060 people. In total, India is the fifth most corona-affected country as it surpassed Spain on Sunday, with its total corona cases standing at 2,56,611. India recorded a jump of over 9,000 cases for the fifth day in a row.

Additionally, this news comes as the state government of Maharashtra is planning on easing restrictions for India’s phase 1 of the ‘Unlock.’ Private offices will be allowed to open and call 10 per cent of their employees or 10 people - whichever number is higher - while the majority of the workforce is still expected to work from home.

The state government has said that it is the responsibility of each office to ensure hand hygiene is enforced and other safety measures are undertaken to protect them and their families back home. Vulnerable groups are not to be forced to come in to work.

In another first after three months, 2,000 Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) buses are operational today to ferry office goers. They are expected to enforce social distancing measures, reported The Hindustan Times.

But as we race back towards a form of normalcy, can Maharashtra handle the unlock as cases surge? To top this is the impending monsoons and the expected rise in monsoon-related illnesses that will overburden an already struggling healthcare system.

A government hospital doctor told FIT in an earlier article, “It’s going to be chaotic. We are already struggling, I don’t know how will we handle the monsoons and the surge in cases.”

Frontline healthcare workers are worried at the lack of monsoon preparedness, although BMC officials say plans are in action. Many doctors are worried June and July will be difficult months as cases are rising and we are looking to arrive at a peak soon, right in the middle of the monsoons.

However, BMC’s monsoon readiness taskforce chairman Dr Sanjay Oak told HT that he is expecting the curve to flatten by June 17, based on trends from Wihan where the virus curved after “the 72nd or 76th day of their lockdown.”

It must be noted, however, that India will be phasing out of its lockdown by then.

To this Dr Oak says that we may see a spike in cases once restrictions on movement ease, but that this will only go on for the first 10 days approximately, “but there is no need to worry as our health infrastructure is ready to deal with the situation.”

Meanwhile, a doctor from Bhabha hospital told FIT that their hospital is already at saturation, with almost all beds allocated or occupied by COVID-19 patients.

Is Maharasthra on track for monsoon preparedness amidst COVID-19?

To their credit, the BMC has issued fresh guidelines to account for the rise in acute differentiated fevers like dengue and malaria.

They have also added that home quarantine should be followed by patients who have mild symptoms to help ease the burden on hospitals.

The state has also accounted for the rise in cases to inner Maharashtra. As of now, most of the cases are from Mumbai, Pune and Thane but as travel restrictions ease, can rural infrastructure handle COVID-19 and the monsoons?

There will be a need to monitor travellers to contain the spread of infection.

Dr SP Kalantri, Medical Superintendent of Kasturba Hospital and MGIMS, Wardha, Maharashtra told FIT that we need to amp up diagnostic testing, open up ICMR’s COVID-19 testing guidelines to “distinguish COVID from non-COVID fever diseases,” and focus on increasing ICU and ventilator availability.

(With inputs from IANS and The Hindustan Times.)

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