Maha notches 'seasonal' spike in Covid-19, 1K-plus 'active cases'

Mumbai, Mar 20 (IANS): Since the past few weeks, Maharashtra has been experiencing a gradual increase in Covid-19 infections, but health authorities said there is no cause for alarm as this is owing to the seasonal fluctuations, here on Monday.

From the lowest of one case on February 6, the infections have now shot up to three-digit figures with the highest 249 notched on March 18, and 236 on Sunday (March 19), as per official data.

There are sporadic deaths due to Covid-19 but in single digits, though health officials say there is no need to worry.

Till date, the number of 'active cases' in the state shot past the 1K-mark to touch 1,308 - up from 107 (February 19) and 123 (January 19).

A senior health department officer Dr. Pradip Awate said that Covid-19 has now become 'endemic', similar to influenza or other viral diseases, and will exhibit a spike in cases as per seasonal variations especially with wide fluctuations in daily minimum-maximum temperatures.

"Currently there is an average 5 per cent increase in Covid-19 cases, in post-winter and post-monsoon climatic conditions, and precautions must be taken," Dr. Awate said, ruling out the recent spike as any kind of 'wave', as apprehended.

The fresh developments come exactly three years after India went into the first lockdown (March 25, 2020), and had emerged out of the lockdown in stages over the past more than a year.

He explained that for influenza, there are vaccines specified by the WHO every year depending on its type or severity and are administered every year for certain targeted sections of the population based on the age or with co-morbidities, with an effectiveness for one year.

"Since Covid-19 is still a new virus, and mutating into various strains since the past three years, there is no specific vaccine developed for regular use, but it will happen in due course," Dr Awate said optimistically.

Currently, Maharashtra has recorded a cumulative total of 81,39,737 Covid-19 cases and 148,428 fatalities - both highest in the country.

Mumbai and Pune districts remain the worst-hit in the state in terms of cumulative infections and deaths.

So far Mumbai has recorded 11,54,903 cases and 19,747 deaths, compared with Pune's 15,06,257 infections and 20,608 fatalities.

Meanwhile, last week the WHO hinted that it may soon end the Covid-19 global pandemic - declared in January 2020 - though a time-frame has reportedly not yet been finalised.



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