Municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal cautioned about a jump in symptomatic cases with monsoon at the doorstep and directed all civic departments to raise their guard by preparing jumbo hospitals, ward war rooms, ramping up testing and boosting vaccination coverage among teenagers.
With the detection of 739 new cases on Wednesday, the highest in 117 days, the city’s daily positivity rate touched 8.4%. It is one of the sharpest jumps seen in the positivity rate in three months when the number had dropped to less than 0.5%. The city’s cases made up the bulk of Maharashtra’s 1,081 cases, its highest single-day detection since February 24 when 1,182 cases were found. The only relief is no deaths have been reported.
A combination of factors could be behind the surge, said Dr Pradeep Vyas, the state’s additional chief secretary. “Increased mobility, normal economic activity with more intermingling, laxity in Covid-appropriate behaviour and no masking are some of the reasons. The transmission of Omicron sub-lineages BA.4 and BA.5 are probably responsible too,” he said.
Seven cases of BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-lineages have been found in Maharashtra so far, all from Pune. Many people with fever and cough are taking their symptoms lightly and not getting tested, Vyas added.
Commensurate with the surge in Covid cases, hospitalisation saw an uptick in the city with 29 people getting admitted. Active cases rose by nearly 20% in the past 24 hours. Rajesh Tope, public health minister, said a majority of active cases are in Mumbai, Thane and Pune. Active cases in Maharashtra touched 4,032 cases, with Mumbai accounting for 2,970 cases.
Dr Shashank Joshi, a member of the state Covid task force, said the trend graph of Mumbai shows a silent wave, likely caused by mild omicron variants. “It’s premature to call it a fourth wave but there is a surge.”