While the doubling rate was 93 days on August 25, right in the midst of the Ganpati festival, it was 63 days on Tuesday. Mumbai reported 587 cases on August 25 (low due to a technical issue with the ICMR website), while the cases climbed to 2,227 on Wednesday. The city has, on an average, been registering 1,200 cases daily since May last week.
Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani identified the coming together of three developments for this rise. “The unlocking coincided with the Ganpati festival that saw massive crowds, many of whom failed to wear a face mask, and the BMC increased the number of tests conducted daily,” Kakani said.
Kakani gave two glaring examples of how failure to observe corona-appropriate behavior led to a rise in cases in south Mumbai. In the first instance, the massive crowds at the flower market and other areas in Dadar saw it surpass Dharavi, which was once the worst hotspot in the country, in terms of cases. On Wednesday, Dadar reached 2,841 cases as compared to 2,839 cases in Dharavi. “The rise in cases in Dadar is worrisome because its population is around 25% of the Dharavi population,” said a local ward official.
In the second instance, Kakani said, house help in 14 flats in a building in Malabar Hill tested positive two days ago. “It is possible their employers were sending the help out too often without adequate protection,” he said. Dharavi, too, has been affected in the surge in the sense that the doubling rate there has dropped from 544 days to 319.
Meanwhile, the BMC has said it will intensify its drive against people not wearing a mask. “We will also step up house-to-house surveys and charge a fine of Rs 200 from people not wearing a mask,” added the additional commissioner.
However, Dr Shashank Joshi, a member of the state task force on Covid, said the current surge in cases is a reflection of a rise in the number of tests. “Mumbai is on track as far as the Covid-19 curve is concerned,” he said.
Another task force member Dr Rahul Pandit said the current rise should not be considered a second wave. “The first wave is still on, but the new crest in the Covid cases is mainly due to testing,” he said.
The doubling rate of an epidemic is the time taken for total number of cases to double. BMC calculates doubling rate on the basis of daily growth rate in the past seven days.