Covid-19 deaths rose by a staggering 250% between April and May, though the city was under a lockdown in both these months. From 281 deaths in April-an average of nine in a day-the city went on to report 989 in May.
Cases in May also witnessed a near four-fold increase to 32,625 from 6,910 in April. The city had recorded 151 cases and seven deaths in March when the virus had arrived on the 11th of the month. The country subsequently went into a lockdown on March 24. Overall, Mumbai now has 41,099 positive cases and 1,319 deaths.
BMC authorities admit while there was a significant jump in May, they say it was nowhere close to the grim projections made in the beginning of the month. In a message civic chief I S Chahal circulated, he said experts had advised Team BMC the city would have 44,000 active cases on May 31. It, though, had around 20,845 active cases on Sunday, proving the projection wrong. A mathematical projection, based on a doubling time of seven days, had estimated the city could have up to 70,000 cases by May-end.
Despite the surge, experts said it was difficult to predict whether Mumbai was going through a peak or the worst was yet to come. “What we must essentially focus on is the number of deaths,” said Dr Om Srivastava, who is a member of the state Covid task force. In terms of the death rate- 3.2%- Mumbai is faring much better than other places. Intensivist Dr Rahul Pandit, another member of the state task force, said the lockdown has played a crucial role in putting a lid on cases and buying time for the city to cope. “We are currently in the thick of things and the peak is probably yet to come,” he added.
A senior doctor, though, said the BMC has tightly controlled testing, which has not gone beyond 3,500-4,000 tests per day. “If we don’t look, how will we find cases?” he asked, adding several deaths at home and in between hospitals are not accounted for. “The lockdown tapered down majorly in May and that’s why we had so many cases,” the doctor added.