MUMBAI: For the third straight day, the state (36,902) and the city (5,515) recorded new peaks of daily Covid-19 cases on Friday. Active cases in the state have shot up to 2,82,451 — closer to the state government’s projection of over 3 lakh in the first week of April.
The state on Friday reported 111 deaths, including 13 in Mumbai. The daily caseload in the Greater Mumbai Region stood at 10,062 with 25 deaths, even as Nashik district raced ahead of Nagpur (4,556) with 6,493 detections on Friday.
The bright spot was the high vaccination numbers. After three days of below-40,000 turnout, it jumped to 40,360 on Friday. The state on Thursday vaccinated 2,14,123, pushing the overall coverage to 52.65 lakh. Mumbai has immunised 10.48 lakh overall.
Interestingly, several 45-plus citizens without co-morbidities, who can take the shots from April 1, could manage to register on Co-WIN, the BMC has learnt. Civic officials said they haven’t received any official communication from the Centre stating that the new group could register.
Dr Sheela Jagtap, immunisation in-charge, said people are able to register online but at the time of verification, the portal is still asking for a comorbidity certificate. There could a software upgrade to allow the change, said the civic official.
In the meantime, the high second wave has triggered a rush for hospital beds in the city. Only 24% of the 3,111 beds in the private sector are vacant as against 40% two days ago. While 67% ICU beds in the public sector are vacant, only 31% of the private ICU beds are available.
“As most patients are from well-off families, they want private beds,” said a senior BMC official. The BMC has asked private hospitals to increase the number of Covid beds to 5,000 from the present 3,111. The city has almost 13,000 beds, with plans to increase it to 21,000 in the coming weeks.
Dr Gautam Bhanshali from Bombay Hospital, who is a state task force member, said: “We have started getting calls from people who say they are making enquiries for relatives just in case there is a need.” He said Bombay Hospital had reduced its Covid beds to 32 at the start of the February but has increased it to 78.
Dr Rahul Pandit, head of intensive care in Fortis Hospital and also a member of the task force, said the state looked to be in a “bad shape”, but “with rising testing, more cases are bound to be detected”. He added that the second wave is nowhere near its peak. “The peak could arrive sometime in mid-April and cases will start declining thereafter till the next.”
Thane recorded its highest tally of 990 fresh cases and two deaths on Friday. The toll here has climbed to 1,376. In Navi Mumbai, 610 cases were detected, taking the total to 62,286. Two deaths were reported, taking the toll to 1,160.