Maharashtra's coronavirus mortality rate higher than the world's

Namrata Devikar
Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Dr Nitin Abhyankar says the risk of COVID-19 cannot be ignored.

Pune: Maharashtra's mortality rate for COVID-19 is currently 6.01% which is higher than that of the world rate of 5.53%. However, Gujarat (9.02), Punjab (8.82) and Himachal Pradesh (7.69) rank higher than Maharashtra in this, while the mortality rate in India is 2.64%.

The figures were released in the 'Report of COVID-19 cases' published by the Medical Education and Drugs Department, Government of Maharashtra.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Nitin Abhyankar said that the comparison of numbers could not be made but neither can the risk of COVID-19 be ignored.

"The numbers in Maharashtra are less compared to the global standards. However, we cannot ignore that there are deaths of patients who have co-morbidities. But due to the immediate lockdown, the number has been contained. More and more area-specific lockdowns, as in where there are higher cases, should be encouraged. The government is on the right track," said Dr Abhyankar.

The data by the State government clearly highlights that till April 6, there are less than 100 travellers, but around 550 close contact persons have tested positive for COVID-19.

Sharing similar views, Dr Avinash Bhondwe, President of Indian Medical Association (IMA) Maharashtra, said that the lockdown should continue to 'flatten the curve', which in epidemiology, means slowing a virus' spread so that fewer people need to seek treatment at any given time -- which will show as a flatter curve on a graph with this data.

"The number of patients and death rates is increasing. Comparatively, there are fewer patients been discharged," said Dr Bhondwe.

The data furnished by the State government states that it took 63 days for 2,000 patients in India to test positive of COVID-19. However, after that, in just three more days, the number doubled to 4,000.

Need for more testing
Speaking about the need for more testing, Dr Abhyankar said there is a need for quick testing post the lockdown.

"As the lockdown gets over, there will be a regular inflow of patients in hospitals and OPDs. In such a case, the doctor should be aware if the patient is COVID positive or negative in case of surgeries and even consultation. Prevention only will help us," said Dr Abhyankar.

Echoing similar views, Dr Bhondwe said that there is a need for rapid mobile tests.

"Mobile rapid tests for COVID-19 will help everyone. Right now, private doctors don't know if the patient has COVID-19 or not. And many patients don't report to government hospitals. There should be a mobile diagnostic van. For the control of any pandemic, early diagnosis is crucial," said Dr Bhondwe.

Extension of lockdown
Dr Bhondwe believes that before the present 21-day lockdown is over, the authorities may decide to extend the lockdown for three to six weeks. The positive cases in India are nearing 5,000. Maharashtra remains worst affected with over 1,000 positive cases as on 8 pm on April 7.

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