Covid-19: Maharashtra is Worst-hit State in India With Over 400 Daily Deaths

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While cities like Mumbai, Thane and Pune have relatively better public health infrastructure, the rest of the state is witnessing a sharp spurt in Covid-19 cases and deaths because of the shocking lack of facilities

Ashok Kumar | Clarion India

MUMBAI – It is the worst-hit state in India in terms of Covid-19, with more than 400 deaths daily and over 10,000 new cases being reported every day.

Six of the 10 districts in India with the highest case fatality rate (CFR) are in Maharashtra, and seven of the 10 districts in the country with the highest Covid-19 positivity rate are also in the state.

With more than 6.15 lakh Covid cases, Maharashtra has seen almost 20,000 deaths and the numbers are worsening daily. And it has overtaken South Africa, which is the fifth most-affected country (after the US, Brazil, India and Russia). South Africa has 5.89 lakh confirmed Covid cases.

“It reflects the total lack of healthcare infrastructure in the state,” Dr Sanjay Pattiwar, a public health expert, told Clarion India on Wednesday. “In Maharashtra, it is only in cities like Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Pune that you find some public health facilities including hospitals and doctors to treat Covid-infected patients. But in the rest of the state, there is a total absence of public healthcare facilities.”

A doctor wearing a protective gear takes a swab from a woman to test for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slums, in Mumbai on April 9, 2020.

The situation in Mumbai has improved because of the over century-old healthcare infrastructure with good public hospitals, doctors and other medical staff, he points out. “But look at the extended suburbs of Greater Mumbai including Mira-Bhayandar, Panvel and other places. There are absolutely no public health facilities and people are suffering a great deal.”

Dr Pattiwar bemoans the lack of efforts on the part of the state government to make people aware about the need to take measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

According to him, many public health departments across the state are under-staffed. “In several places, 50 per cent of the posts are vacant, as government officials are not interested in these jobs. They prefer to be posted in ‘lucrative’ departments such as roads and highways and other infrastructure sectors.”

The scenario in many parts of the state is worsening every day. For instance, in terms of the Covid-19 positivity rate (PR), Maharashtra has seven of the 10 worst districts in the country.

As against a national average of 7.7 per cent, Raigad has as PR of 31.7, followed by Thane at 29.4. The other worst-hit districts include Nashik (26.7 PR), Dhule (25.7), Pune (23.4), Jalgaon (22) and Satara (21).

And in terms of CFR – which refers to Covid reported deaths in relation to reported cases – Mumbai (with 5.48 per cent) ranks number two in India, next to Ahmedabad. The other five districts of the state that rank among the 10 with the highest CFRs in India include Solapur, Akola, Jalgaon, Latur and Nanded.

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