Pune tops Maharashtra in Covid-19 statistics | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Pune tops Maharashtra in Covid-19 statistics

ByJyoti Shelar, Mumbai
Oct 31, 2021 12:35 AM IST

While the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is receding from Maharashtra, Pune has emerged as the top contributor in cases as well as deaths

While the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is receding from the state, Pune has emerged as the top contributor in cases as well as deaths. As of Saturday, the district had recorded over 1.1 million cases and more than 19,500 deaths. Mumbai was second in line with over 756,000 cases and more than 16,200 deaths. State health officials have been mulling the reasons behind the rise in Pune’s cases and have found similarities with the 2009 H1N1 outbreak.

Citizens crowd Dadar market for Diwali shopping, on Saturday. (Satish Bate/HT PHOTO)
Citizens crowd Dadar market for Diwali shopping, on Saturday. (Satish Bate/HT PHOTO)

“The H1N1 outbreak behaved the same way, with a surge in Mumbai initially, but Pune eventually taking the top slot,” said state’s surveillance officer Dr Pradeep Awate. “We believe that Mumbai’s coastal proximity has a role to play in the way the virus circulates and thrives. Pune’s weather conditions seem more conducive for the virus to thrive. We saw a similar pattern during the H1N1 outbreak as well,” he said.

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Awate said that the state was closely watching the district’s pattern as the temperature is likely to fall further and a wide difference between the day and night time temperatures was setting in gradually in Pune.

Pune’s district health officer Dr Bhagwan Pawar said Pune is land locked and has dry weather, which seems to be conducive for pathogens like the Sars-CoV-2. “We need detailed studies to link the weather pattern in the district and if it lets pathogens thrive. But preliminarily, the weather pattern seems to definitely play a role,” he said.

Health activists, however, said that Pune’s medical infrastructure and the strategies to deal with Covid-19 have been extremely weak. “One may link the spread to the weather patterns and climatic conditions, but the reality is that Pune failed at many levels while tackling the pandemic,” said Dr Abhijit More of Jan Arogya Abhiyan. “When the pandemic hit, Pune’s public sector did not have a single medical intensive care unit (MICU). The contact tracing measures in Pune have been weak. More importantly, it had a very centralised approach of allotting beds to patients, which was a complete failure,” he said.

According to More, while Mumbai created 24 war rooms in each of its 24 wards, Pune had one centralised war room approach. “The problem became worse when the authorities did not change their strategy by learning from the Mumbai model. They continued with the same centralised model, leaving patients struggling at home. Many patients never heard back from them and had to run from one hospital to another looking for beds. All this led to the widespread of the virus,“ said More adding that Pune eventually crossed Mumbai even as its population density is much lower.

As the state anticipates a third wave sooner or later, More said that Pune should rethink its strategies for future spurts.

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