MUMBAI: The virulent spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus across the state, apparent throughout September, seems to be slowing.

For one, the number of cases in the past fortnight is 28% lower than the previous 14-day period (see box). For another, there has been an 18% drop in fatalities during the same period.
Dr Shashank Joshi, a member of the state task force on Covid-19, said, “There is a clear dip in cases across Maharashtra and, if the trend continues, we will soon see a flattening of the coronavirus curve.”
In 14-day Covid trends, number of tests almost same in both periods
Senior state government officials said this “dropping” trend is encouraging as the average number of tests conducted during both the periods was nearly the same. While 86,185 tests were conducted on an average daily between September 26 and October 9, the corresponding figure was 86,304 between September 12 and
25. Roughly, 12 lakh tests were conducted during both the 14-day periods, said the officials.
Dr Pradeep Awate, who heads the epidemiology cell of the state public department, said the drop in Covid cases has been apparent for a few weeks now. “We are testing more at almost 90,000 on an average every day, and cases are declining. Importantly, people are getting treatment earlier than patients did in the past, during the initial phase of the pandemic. This has led to a drop in the death rate as well,” he added.
State officials added despite the drop in cases, the health machinery is gearing for a surge during the forthcoming festival season. “Cases surged across the state after the Ganpati festival in September. So, even if we are seeing less cases now, we plan to continue conducting the same number of tests,” said an official.
A doctor in the public health department said the ‘My Family, My Responsibility’ campaign, which was launched on September 15 with house-to-house surveys as its mainstay, had helped previous detection of cases well in time to start treatment. Vidarbha, which had emerged as a worry about two months ago, has stablized, he added Another doctor said concurrent campaigns to implement the masking order helped in some cities.
“In most cities, especially Pune, people had started using a mask due to the deterrent of fines. This helped cut down transmission,” he said.
Dr Joshi, though, added that one should only be “cautiously optimistic” about the downward trend. “People shouldn’t become complacent or reckless and stop using masks,” he added.

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