Mumbai News

Mumbai region cases top 1 lakh: 73% of Maharashtra count – Times of India

MUMBAI: Thane, followed by Navi Mumbai, have seen the most rise in cases in MMR, though in absolute numbers Mira-Bhayander, Vasai-Virar and pockets in Bhiwandi have been seeing a surge as well. The case fatality rate is highest in Bhiwandi-Nizampur (5.26%) and Mira-Bhayander (4.34%).

The bigger worry behind the shift though, say experts, is a big chunk of the over 23 million population residing in MMR relies heavily on Mumbai’s health infrastructure. “A rise in cases on the fringes of Mumbai is concerning as good public health infrastructure is practically absent in MMR,” said Ravi Duggal, a public health analyst. “Take the instance of Mira-Bhayander that has a population of 18 lakh but has barely one good public hospital,” he said. Duggal added that while Thane and Navi Mumbai could be better off, in Kalyan-Dombivli and Vasai-Virar the number of primary health centres, doctors or community health volunteers are grossly inadequate.
Lack of health infrastructure outside Mumbai a big worry
Mira-Bhayander, which has reported over 2,500 cases, has 1,500 Covid beds and merely 50 ICU beds. A public hospital administrator told TOI, “Critical cases are almost always referred to Mumbai hospitals.” Similarly, Vasai-Virar has 40 ICU beds and 1,110 Covid beds. Both civic bodies have only one lab. The condition in areas outside of municipal limits such as Palghar (rural) is worse; Palghar (rural) has roughly 20 ICU beds and 50 Covid beds, despite having recorded over 650 cases.
A senior state official said civic corporations and district collectors of neighbouring cities have been repeatedly told to increase contact tracking. In many areas, for every one person, only 2-3 are being quarantined. Also, travel between MMR and Mumbai has emerged the biggest link for increase in cases. “Addition of cases is showing the cracks in their systems. Palghar district does not have its testing lab, swabs are sent to Mumbai for tests,” said a senior official.
The cases in MMR and Mumbai are connected in a way due to the proximity and daily influx of the working population. Though the rise in cases in MMR is being attributed to workers who travelled to Mumbai for work, the cases in Mumbai may not see a dip until MMR is take care of.
According to public health expert Dr Anand Phadke, though, a rise in absolute number of cases in MMR shouldn’t rob Mumbai of its sleep. “Number of cases should always be judged as population per million. More importantly, we should worry when we don’t have enough beds to treat serious cases or paramedical staff to trace and test. It’s a fact that the public health system is inadequate,” he said.
-Inputs by Sandhya Nair