State disease surveillance officer Pradip Awate said the death rate in the state has been going down on a week-on-week basis. “In fact, in the last week, the death rate in the state was less than 1%,” he added.
According to data from the state public health department, Mumbai and Nagpur municipal corporations reported deaths on all days of the past week, though the daily numbers were in single digits. At the same time, Kolhapur, Dhule, and Malegaon did not report a single death during the same period. Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad did not report a single death on three days in the February 14-21 period.
Likewise, Aurangabad, Thane, Jalgaon and Ahmednagar did not report a single death for almost five consecutive days in the past week In Pune district, there has been a steady drop in the case fatality rate (CFR) despite the recent surge. The February 13-19 week recorded the lowest CFR (0.7%) since January 23-29, when it was 1.2%. Experts said this trend suggests that Sars-CoV-2 transmission is high, but it is not as deadly.
“Though the number of cases is large, most are mild to moderate patients who can be managed with home quarantine,” said Dr Sanjay Deshmukh, deputy director of health services, Pune region.
Dr Kapil Zirpe, a member of the Pune task force, said there has been an increase in the mild and asymptomatic categories over the last couple of weeks. He said, “Case numbers are rising rapidly due to high transmissibility. But the current status of spread seems to indicate high transmission, but reduced virulence.”
However, Dr Sanjay Patil, chairman of the IMA’s Hospital Board of India, was cautious. “Cases increased this week and the inflammatory phase of the infection starts after the eighth day of symptoms. So the death rate may increase after three weeks in the case of the newly detected infections.”