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BMC officials say Covid-19 cases in Mumbai may not reach 45,000 by May-end

On Friday, the city saw its sharpest single-day jump in cases (1,751), which took the count to 27,251.

Updated: May 23, 2020 09:49 IST

By Mehul R Thakkar, Hindustan Times Mumbai

Passengers in queue at Dadar station after Indian railways re-open train ticket counters fro reservation following social distancing guidelines and observe the hygiene protocols in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Mumbai. (Vijayanand Gupta/HT Photo)

Even as the city is reporting more than 1,000 cases daily, civic officials say the rise is on expected lines, but may not touch 45,000 cases, as projected by the end of May.

On Friday, the city saw its sharpest single-day jump in cases (1,751), which took the count to 27,251. Twenty-seven new deaths took the toll to 909. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) claims the rate of spread has slowed down owing to focus on testing, rigorous contact-tracing and timely detection of cases. “The projections are based on the doubling rate. In April, we had projected around 70,000 to 75,000 cases, when the doubling rate was seven days, however, gradually we managed to increase the doubling rate to 14 days. Further, we projected 45,000 cases, when the doubling rate was 10 days, and now we are projecting less than 45,000 cases when our doubling rate is between 12 and 14 days,” said a BMC official. “For the past four days, the city is seeing between 1,100 and 1,500 cases, and the same trend is expected to continue in the coming days.”

At the current pace, the number of total cases by the end of May could be around 37,500, if 1,200 cases are reported daily, and 40,000, if the number goes up to 1,500 cases daily. As of Thursday, 1.50 lakh tests were conducted in the city.

Daksha Shah, deputy executive health officer at BMC, said, “We have been able to contain the spread with not just testing, but also contact-tracing, which is why the number of cases could be fewer than the projected 45,000. We have taken efforts to control the spread, considering the actual projection earlier was 75,000.”



Shah further added, “By the end of May, the total should be below 40,000 cases. Further, we are also readying all our health care facilities to ensure functioning of our Covid Care Centres and Dedicated Covid Hospitals at full capacity. There might be some difficulty in getting admission currently, but by next week, it will be streamlined.”

Meanwhile, Dharavi saw 53 new cases and one death on Friday, taking the count to 1,478 and toll to 57. By the end of May, the slum cluster is expected to reach 2,000 cases. Dharavi saw its first case on April 1, followed by a total of 369 cases in the month. From May 1 to May 22, Dharavi saw 1,109 cases, taking the total to 1,478. Around 75% of the total cases were reported in the past 22 days of May. The average number of cases in Dharavi being reported in seven days is between 300 and 400, with a daily average of 30 to 50 cases.

Experts, however, are not impressed. Dr Siddarth Paliwal, a Mumbai-based health consultant with a private hospital, said, “The number of cases being a little lower than the estimate will not make a big difference, as the cases are rising every day. The increase may also mean that tests and contact-tracing is happening in the right direction, but we have to focus on expanding our health infrastructure. With increase in cases, the number of critical patients and demand for ambulances will also go up. We have to match up to it to improve the recovery rate and reduce the mortality rate, and pull the curve down. Considering the density of a city like Mumbai, we also need to anticipate a second wave, and prepare our infrastructure accordingly.”

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